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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Honda Insight

A pair of Japanese buyers check out the new 2010 Prius hybrid vehicle, the first hybrid to outsell all other vehicles in Japan.  (Source: BBC News)
Hybrids come in at number 1 and number 4 on Japan's sales charts

Consumers will tend to hold off their purchases if there is a new and significantly improved model coming soon. This is particularly true for electronics and automobiles. Word of the third generation Prius has been known as far back as 2006, and while the economic downturn played a significant role in cutting sales of the older Prius, the waiting game may have had a larger impact than previously thought.

Toyota had already decided to increase production of the Prius to 600,000 units per year in late May after seeing huge sales in Japan. The company has had to begin weekend production of the Prius in order to make a dent in demand. Increases in fuel economy and horsepower had led many to delay their purchases of the Prius until the 2010 model was available. However, many potential customers also switched to Honda's Insight hybrid, which topped the Japanese sales charts in April.

In the two months since, hybrids have continued their sales dominance, with the 2010 Toyota Prius and Honda Insight both posting strong sales.  The Toyota Prius seized the top spot in May, with sales of 10,915 cars.

This month, though, it set an even more impressive mark, becoming the first hybrid in Japan's history to outsell all other vehicles.  The Honda Insight's previous sales record had excluded popular mini-vehicles with engines of up to 660cc.  Those mini-vehicles were easily outsold by the Prius, thanks to sales of 22,292 units.

Honda continued to do well, with its Insight Hybrid coming in fourth place.  Honda's Fit, a fuel efficient traditional offering came in second place, with 13,016 vehicles sold.  The sales of Toyota and Honda's hybrids were helped by relatively high worldwide gas prices, which drove Japanese consumers to take fuel economy more seriously.  Japanese tax breaks have also helped convince users to switch to hybrids.

Hybrid vehicles have yet to crack the top of U.S. sales charts, but some believe it’s only a matter of time before a foreign hybrid like the Toyota Prius, or a domestic like the Ford Fusion pushes towards the top. 

All of this bodes well for those hoping of a restart of Toyota's $1.3 billion Prius assembly plant currently under construction in Blue Springs, Mississippi. Toyota has already spent over $300 million on the plant. The building shell itself is finished, but the tooling and production machinery will be installed at a later date. Parts suppliers have also halted building expansion and tooling operations until Toyota commits to a restart date.

The case for a restart is particularly strong since New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) appears destined for a shutdown. The joint venture between Toyota and General Motors will cease to produce the Pontiac Vibe, which is based on Toyota's Matrix. It also produces the popular Toyota Corolla and Toyota's Tacoma truck, production which could shift to Blue Springs. Production of the Toyota Yaris hybrid is also a possibility.

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Lets put this in perspective
By tmouse on 7/7/2009 8:09:48 AM , Rating: 2
Ok ; people are still extrapolating this information too much. The 150 is the best selling MODEL note the word MODEL. It does not mean everyone is getting 150's or any other truck. Sales of new cars and trucks in the US are probably somewhere between 15 to 16 million units per year. According to the BTS for 2007 sales splits of new vehicles was around 50% for cars and trucks and has been for a number of years. For cars the split is pretty equal between small , mid and large cars, with small cars being higher in high gas price years and mid size cars in the other years. For the trucks, which include SUV's the breakdown is around 30% for midsized SUV's and 25% each for large pickups and SUV's. Now this information is for 2007 the latest year information has been published but the numbers have not changed dramatically for the 4 previous years and I seriously doubt it changed dramatically in the one and a half after (especially considering the current economy and gas prices in 2008). The information is available on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics web site which is part of The Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

RE: Lets put this in perspective
By sxr7171 on 7/7/2009 9:40:51 AM , Rating: 1
So 50% of people need a huge truck to commute alone to work?

Or is it that 50% of people need to overpower everyone else with their big ass truck during the commute going 45 in the left lane on a wide open highway as they tend to do? Then some other jackass in a big truck does the same thing in the right lane. You can't see shit behind this pair of wasteful morons.

This isn't a sidewalk, there's no need to drive "side by side".

RE: Lets put this in perspective
By tmouse on 7/7/2009 1:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
I realize I should have attached this to the 150 thread. The 50% trucks include all SUV's as well and there is no distinguishing between commercial and personal buyers in that statistic. So for the 150 if we assume 16 million cars sold and 50% trucks with 25% being large pickups that's around 2 million, if the 150 keeps selling 36K units per month that would give them about 21% of the large pickup market or 2.7% of all new vehicles sold, very good for a single model but keep in mind it is skewed a bit since all uses for vehicles are not equal and many commercial buyers will have to buy a pickup or a van.

RE: Lets put this in perspective
By Spuke on 7/7/2009 1:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
So 50% of people need a huge truck to commute alone to work?
Are you REALLY that stupid? Or are you just messing with people?

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