2010 Prius Up Close and Personal
The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported Friday that Toyota will postpone US production of the Prius. Toyota has not confirmed the report, but has asserted that all future products are being reviewed. The Prius is currently made exclusively in Japan and the 2010 model goes on display at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
Japan's largest automaker had originally planned to move production of the midsize Highlander SUV to Indiana to make room for the first US produced Priuses at their Tupelo, Mississippi plant in 2010. The automotive community speculates that this will be delayed until at least 2011 because of slumping sales in the wake of shaky global economies.
This is a far cry from the summer months when gas prices were higher than ever and the iconic hybrids flew off of dealership lots faster than they could be ordered. Despite Toyota's dedication to improved fuel economy, their October sales were down 25.9% from 2007 and their 2009 sales targets are at a 28-year low.
Source: LA Times, Toyota, The Daily Yomiuri Online Image: Autoblog