Prius Production Proliferates

Toyota Motor Corporation plans to increase the number of Priuses it builds by 60 percent for 2009, according to a report in Nikkei News. This translates to 450,000 vehicles, up from last year’s production number of 280,000.

The automaker will invest in two U.S. plants to keep up with the growing demand for its eco-friendly stalwart. This is a major step for Toyota’s overall goal to reach 1 million hybrid vehicles annually for the global marketplace. It aims to hit this number within the next five to seven years.

Honda has also ramped up its green car plans with an affordable small hybrid expected for next year. The carmaker forecasts annual global sales in the 200,000 unit range, with half of those sales coming from the United States. Honda is striving to elevate its total global hybrid output number to 500,000, a significant boost over the 55,000 cars it produced in 2007.

Toyota and Honda have been selling hybrids in the U.S. since 2000. The two companies have demonstrated the most consistent long-term commitment to hybrids—and could serve as barometers for the hybrid segment. As they increase hybrid production, other major automakers are expected to follow with increases in production, albeit with smaller numbers. In Feb. 2008, Toyota gas-electric vehicles represented 82 percent of the hybrid market in the United States.


  • Skeptic

    Meanwhile, GM issues press releases whining about increased CAFE standards …

    “Boo hoo” … idiots.

  • Paul Rivers

    “Meanwhile, GM issues press releases whining about increased CAFE standards …”Boo hoo” … idiots.”

    Haha, so true.

    Now when is the redesigned Prius going to get here? I want a Prius I can see out the back of… :-)

  • David

    I think Toyota is trying to slow down the pace to keep a fair distance with GM. Ethically, Toyota is doing the right thing by keeping a steady pace. They don’t want to take the blame from the dinosaurs going extinct. Once the dinosaurs are gone, Toyota can run at the pace it’s used to… We all know Toyota has great mystifying things up their sleeves.

  • mdensch

    “Meanwhile, GM issues press releases whining about increased CAFE standards …”

    I seem to remember that Toyota was complaining about those revised CAFE standards, too.

    Seems to me, too, that, other than the Prius and a handful of dinky econoboxes, nothing in the current Toyota or Lexus lineup would even come close to meeting those new standards.

    Wonder what “mystifying things” Toyota is going to pull from its sleeve to meet the standards.

  • stsmart@net-link.net

    “Mdensch” must be stuck in the 90′s …

    My wife loves her Camry Hybrid. She gets 42 MPG average.
    It’s hardly a dinky econobox!!!

  • Anonymous

    I must concur, smart Stan Smart, and while many might average just below 35 MPG with the 2008 version, the 15% to 20% improvement expected with the next generation of HSD/larger battery combo, will take the 3600 lb Camry above the 35 MPG cafe goal, probably in 2010.

  • mdensch

    Take a few minutes to pull your heads out of the sand and look at this website:

    http://www.truthabouttoyota.com/

    One example from the site:

    “What they claim: Toyota tells consumers and investors it is making great strides in fuel economy.

    The truth is: Toyota has used its Prius to create a corporate image based on innovation and environmental consciousness. But as National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) data shows, Toyota’s current fleet-wide fuel economy is lower today than it was 20 years ago around the time CAFE standards were last increased.”

  • mdensch

    Looking at the current CAFE figures, Toyota is only marginally closer to meeting the 35mpg standards than domestic automakers.

    Keep in mind that the figures they have to meet are those generated by the EPA, not your own observed mpg. Keep in mind also that it is the average of the highway and city ratings and that it is based on total fleet averages.

    The current Prius gets well above the standard already, the current Corolla is about as far below the 35mpg figures as the Prius is above it. That means that if Toyota sells the same number of Prius’s as Corollas they would meet the standard. The current Camry Hybrid gets close to the 35mpg standard so it’s impact on the fleet average is a wash. The Yaris is a bit under 35mpg, if Toyota could somehow increase its mileage by about 10%, it would sneak in.

    All Scions and Lexus’s (Lexi?) fall short of the standard, in fact the new Xb is larger, heavier, has a bigger engine and gets worse mileage than the previous model — seems Toyota is moving in the wrong direction there.

    No Toyota trucks come anywhere near to meeting the standard.

    So to hit a corporate average 35mpg, Toyota would have to stop selling all of its trucks and SUVs and its Lexus line. They could keep selling Corollas as long as they sell the same number of Prius’ and they could keep selling the 4 cylinder Camry if they sell way more Prius’ than they do today.

    That would take a huge bite out of Toyota’s profitability and is why they fought the new CAFE standards just as hard as Detroit did.

  • CLD

    mdensch:

    As an owner of both a Prius and a Camry Hybrid I AGREE WITH YOU (didn’t see that coming, huh?). One problem with your last posting, though. The new EPA testing procedure does not have any bearing on CAFE, at least for now. Under NHTSA Title 49 Part C Chapter 329 (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/nhtsa/Cfc_title49/ACTchap321-331.html) ‘the Administrator shall use the same procedures for passenger automobiles the Administrator used for model year 1975′. In other words, the original 1975 testing protocol–which everyone knows produces inflated fuel economy numbers–will still be used by NHTSA to determine CAFE. I still haven’t seen any provision in the new energy bill to change that. So, based on the 2007 numbers for a Prius (51 Hwy 60 City 55 Combined) and Camry Hybrid (38 Hwy 40 City 39 Combined), the numbers NHTSA will use to calculate CAFE will be (adjusting up 15% for the 1975 testing protocol) 63 mpg for the Prius and 45 mpg for the Camry Hybrid.

    The same applies to all other cars and trucks Toyota and every other manufacturer sells.

  • mdensch

    If what you found is true, and keeping in mind that the EPA ratings have been adjusted downward at least twice since 1975, then the CAFE legislation that was enacted last fall is just about meaningless.

  • omn1potent

    When would the PHEV 3rd generation Prius be available. Rumours are that the top model will have a solar panel sunroof in addition to PHEV for charging on the move. Also Toyota, please make the next generation prius handle well and make it available to be fitted with a towbar? They must be practical as well? When is the scheduled release in Australia?

  • omn1potent

    Funny that the base Prius and base CiViC Hybrids in the US cost the same, and here in Australia, the Prius costs AUS$5,000 more than the CiViC Hybrid.

    Also the CiViC price range in Australia ranges between AUS$21k ro AUS$32k, all cheaper models feature rear-disc brakes and the top-of-the-range HyBriD has rear drum brakes. Will stability control and other safety features which underlying rely on this, why does it come out with such old systems? Honda says its not required, consumers think NOT!

  • sean

    omn1potent,

    How about the base Prius is priced USD21,100 in the US and AUD37,400 in AUS? Don’t you see that it’s a bit weird considering the exchange rate b/w USD and AUD? That hasn’t been taken into account the “Tax break” that US buyers are enjoying.

  • Eric2

    I hate to say it, but mdensch is right. In fact, looking at fueleconomy.gov, some of Toyota’s SUVs and Trucks are even worse gas hogs than the competition. Toyota and GM together sued the state of California once before over emissions regulations.

    In addition, some may argue that the Prius was invented mainly as a way to increase the upper end of the CAFE average, allowing them to sell even bigger gas-guzzling SUVs and Trucks, all the while acting green through their promotions of the Prius and “moving forward” slogan.

    As interesting as the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive is, I refuse to buy a Toyota for the reasons listed above.

    Signed,
    A proud owner of a Honda Civic Hybrid

  • Armand

    Mdensch…

    AT LEAST TOYOTA has something to have a press release about….what does GM have? GM is a POS, overdone company that needs to completely disappear…

    Granted…Toyota was whining about CAFE standards too but while they were whining, they made products that met the standards. What has GM done?

  • Denny

    MDENSCH,

    I drove from RI to fayetteville, NC in my new Prius. I hit NYC am rush hour and DC pm rush hour. I stopped for gas three times. I could have stopped twice if I wanted to stretch it. I think the Prius performs.

  • Anonymous

    I just bought my Prius last week, and at 51mpg, I’m loving it. It’s much better than the 16mpg I was getting from my Ford. The new CAFE requirements don’t start for years and by then the technology will improve. If the gas prices stay up where they are now, all the car manufacturers will be marketing smaller, fuel efficient vehicles. I still have my corvette for those times when I want more zoom in my ride. But even that gets me 26mpg on the highway at 80mph.

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