Originally, Toyota planned to introduce its second-gen plug-in hybrid, known in the US as the Prius Prime, this fall in Japan. Its North American arrival is slated for after that, but before the end of 2016. But for reasons that have not been made public, Toyota pushed back its Japanese debut to winter. A spokesman told Automotive News Europe that the company is reducing initial production, but that output at its Japanese production facility will ramp up as demand increases.
The multi-month delay in Japan won't impact the US market, Toyota spokesperson Rick Bourgeois told Autoblog. That should mean the Prius Prime will still hit US dealers before year's end.
According to ANE, the Prius Prime should be a significant part of Toyota's plan for its popular – but struggling – Prius family. The company is targeting 60,000 sales per year, split almost evenly between the Japanese and North American markets. That's ambitious – if Toyota sells 30,000 Prius Primes here in the US, it'd more than double the first-gen PHV's best year, 2014. But with this Japanese production delay, it's unclear if Toyota will be able to hit that goal right out of the gate.
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