U.S. sales of the Toyota Prius slipped from 18,605 in March of 2011 to 12,477 in April, a decline that's largely attributed to a shortage in supply related to the quake and tsunami that rattled Japan on March 11. However, by late March, Toyota had resumed Prius production, if on a limited level.
Now, Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president and general manager, says that Prius production, which was halted for a solid two weeks following the quake and has been steady at 50 percent capacity since late March, will increase to 70 percent in June. This, Carter said, will allow Toyota to ship at least 36,000 Prius hybrids to the U.S. this summer to partially satisfy demand. According to Ward's Auto, that's 60 to 70 percent of the Prius' typical summer inventory level.