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The 2010 Toyota Prius (pictured here) and the 2010 Honda Insight are proving to be sales hits in the U.S. and Japan, giving their companies a boost and driving away from less efficient competitors.
The Toyota Prius begins to show its sales potential

While the auto industry as a whole has struggled, Honda and Toyota have been experiencing new international success, thanks to their new 2010 Insight and Prius hybrid vehicles.  With a healthy profit margin of $3,100 per vehicle, these lean, clean, green small cars are selling out and acting as a bailout for their respective companies, while other models and competitors languish.

In Japan, Honda's Insight already became the first hybrid vehicle to top overall sales charts.  Now Toyota's Prius has a success story of its own on its hands. 

Earlier this year Toyota, battered by the economic downturn had to stop production and assembly at many of its plants in an effort to reduce output and lower inventories.  However, thanks to the better than expected demand for the Prius, thanks in part to rising summer gas prices, Toyota is putting these plants back in full-time action.

States Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco, "We are considering steps to increase production to meet demand."

Both in Japan and in many states in the U.S., consumers get tax breaks for purchasing fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, making them a smart buy when coupled with higher gas prices.  Additional tax break measures which should sweeten the deal even more are on the books in both Japan and the U.S.

Reportedly, Toyota initially planned to internationally produce 42,000 to 43,000 vehicles per month, but has since raised its plans to 50,000 vehicles per month.  Toyota says it has received at least 80,000 orders for the third-generation Prius, but declined to comment on reports that orders have since soared to 110,000 units.  It is obvious, though, that in this bleak auto economy these well-designed hybrids are a rare bright spot.

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By mdogs444 on 5/27/2009 2:32:42 PM , Rating: 2
It is obvious, though, that in this bleak auto economy these well-designed hybrids are a rare bright spot .

Jason - what the hell are you talking about?

The sales figures for the Prius are down 50% from last year. Besides, 50,000 units for a single model to be distributed worldwide is not that large of a number at all.

This article wreaks of subjectivity.

By GWD5318 on 5/27/2009 2:46:56 PM , Rating: 5
Since when has Jason ever shown a bias in an article he wrote? I mean he is the paragon of objec.....hahahah! I couldn't keep a straight face for that one. Not even a virtual one. :-)

By Jansen on 5/27/2009 2:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sales of the Prius have been down in large part due to anticipation for the new third-generation Prius. No one wants last year's model.

Toyota sold over 500,000 Prius cars last year.

By Samus on 5/28/2009 12:16:59 AM , Rating: 4
The Prius is at least doing one thing that other cars are not: moving off the lots.

By Sunrise089 on 5/28/2009 12:50:55 AM , Rating: 2
The type of auto/tech geeks that read blogs like this know there is a new Prius coming. The typical uninformed Prius buyer doesn't know this. Sales are down because the economy tanked and people, on the margin, cut back on luxury goods. The Prius is about sending an image that some people can't currently afford to send, so they're buying the cheaper and better alternatives.

By deltadeltadelta on 5/28/2009 6:07:03 PM , Rating: 3
Here! Here! And it is an ugly car at that.

By Ratinator on 5/27/2009 2:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
50000 not that much??? That is 600000 a year of just one model. Not to mention the article indicates it has since soared to 110000. Now we are talking somewhere between 600k and 1.3 million Prius vehicles a year meaning $1.8 to $4 billion in pure profit.....that doesn't sound so bad to me.

By Chalmus0 on 5/27/2009 2:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
This article wreaks of subjectivity

50,000 units per month, $3000 profit per = $150,000,000 profit monthly from this one model.

Yes, saying whether this is good or bad, high or low, bright or not, is all "subjective", but I imagine that more people would call this a bright spot in the current economy than not.

By mdogs444 on 5/27/2009 3:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
50,000 units per month, $3000 profit per = $150,000,000 profit monthly from this one model.

Thats if each car sold for their MSRP. Most sell close to it, but not for sticker. That's not bottom line profit though - you still need to account for all the maintenance and fixes that are needed while the car is under warranty.

Besides, I never claimed the car wasn't profitable. I claimed its not a bright spot when its sales dropped 50% with everyone elses. GM can sell 50,000 units of trucks at over a $3,000 markup. Doesn't mean its a bright spot.

By Iaiken on 5/27/2009 3:20:42 PM , Rating: 2
Warranty work costs are already factored into the cost of the car. Unless there is a serious design flaw that eats up that amount quickly across the fleet, then the profit margin would remain untouched.

By rs1 on 5/27/2009 4:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
GM can sell 50,000 units of trucks at over a $3,000 markup.

Unless you can show some recent sales figures to back that up, then I believe you are mistaken. If GM could sustain those kinds of numbers then they wouldn't be heading for bankruptcy after receiving billions of dollars in bailout funds.

By Fenixgoon on 5/27/2009 5:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
look no further than the second best selling vehicle in america for 2008:

the chevy silverado: 465,000 units. beaten only by 515,000 Ford F150's

GM can profit all it wants on trucks, but its other costs create a black hole for money. and as you might recall, even toyota has been posting losses this year as well. every auto manufacturer is hurting.

By rs1 on 5/27/2009 5:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
Not bad, though that does fall a bit shy of the 50,000 units per month mark. Still, if they can generate that kind of sales volume, then they must have some severe organizational issues to be in the kind of mess that they are.

By Spuke on 5/27/2009 5:36:44 PM , Rating: 3
Not bad, though that does fall a bit shy of the 50,000 units per month mark.
Those numbers are just US sales not worldwide sales. The Prius sales are worldwide sales. You guys need to compare worldwide to worldwide.

By Spuke on 5/27/2009 5:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
Argh!!!! 50k units per month is worldwide. The 500k truck sales are US only sales.

By Alexstarfire on 5/27/2009 10:44:30 PM , Rating: 1
While true do you really think that many countries are going to import Ford and GM over Honda and Toyota? Even if talking about trucks.

By Sunrise089 on 5/28/2009 12:52:49 AM , Rating: 3
Right, I know I see all kind of Honda and Toyotas in the UK (for example). They've probably never heard of Fords there ;)

By Alexstarfire on 5/28/2009 4:08:23 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure if that was sarcasm, but if it was you can very kindly kiss my ass. That's not what I was saying at all and you know it.

By Spuke on 5/28/2009 12:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
They've probably never heard of Fords there ;)
Anecdotal. I've seen tons of Fords in the UK.

By 67STANG on 5/27/2009 5:05:38 PM , Rating: 3
$40 billion to be exact. They are talking about asking for $9 billion more on top of that. All that, and guess what.... they are still going to file for bankruptcy.

We might as well have used the money to buy monster cable or researching perpetual motion.

By JasonMick on 5/27/2009 6:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
We might as well have used the money to buy monster cable or researching perpetual motion.

Or purchasing Best But Geek Squad tech support services...

By BaronMatrix on 5/27/2009 7:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
Are you crazy or something? What could there possibly be about this article that's subjective? It looks like a manufacturing report to me.

I often wonder if Americans can be happy if they're not complaining or arguing about something.

By alphadog on 5/28/2009 11:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, arguing is so uniquely American! I mean, so many other places in the world behave with compassion, tolerance, and understanding. For example: China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, France...

By dflynchimp on 5/27/2009 7:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
psh, don't you know the number one rule of reporting?

1. Objectivity doesn't sell...ever

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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