Toyota has logged 180,000 total orders for its new Prius, a number that crushes sales of the Insight.
Through last minute price drops and high anticipation, Toyota has managed to pull off a stunning feat. Initially, they expected to sell 10,000 Priuses a month, but demand is sky high leading to 180,000 sales in just over a month. Hybrid sales in Japan are strong, but even Toyota didn't anticipate this one.
There is a problem though. Toyota is now forced to tell customers that they must wait up to 7 months to receive their Priuses. The long wait is despite the fact that the plant producing the Prius is working at full tilt with overtime shifts for everyone. The company also moved 1,000 additional workers to the Tsutsumi plant responsible for construction of the car.
Japan offers numerous incentives that sway buyers into purchasing hybrid and electric vehicles and this could be one reason why demand for the Prius is so high. According to analyst Yoshiaki Kawano of CSM Worldwide, "The tax incentives are definitely boosting purchases."
Toyota set it sights on the Insight and met it head on. By reducing prices and cutting costs, Toyota was able to offer what they believe is a better vehicle at a comparable prices. As analyst Kawano said, "Demand has shifted from Insight to Prius."
The Insight became the first hybrid ever to hold the top sales spot in Japan in a single month, but that was back in April. In May, the Prius took top honors and Toyota doesn't appear to be concerned about getting knocked off the pedestal anytime soon.