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A new Toyota Prius is put together in 66 seconds on Line No 1 and in 57 seconds on Line No 2 of Toyota’s Tsutsumi plan in Japan, even at that rate, it’s still not enough.

Toyota says that its Japanese factories making the third-generation Prius are reaching full capacity just to fulfil the orders for the car in Japan alone.

In total four lines at the Tsutsumi plant a factory belonging to affiliate Toyota Auto Body Company, produce 50,000 cars a month, twice as many as Toyota’s original sales target.

The Big T says it has brought back overtime and is even bringing in workers from other factories to boost output.

Toyota needs to produce at least 140,000 of the new hybrid cars to satisfy the Japanese market. Last month the Prius outsold every vehicle in Japan, except the 660cc segment, with 10,915 sales, beating rival Honda Insight by 2732 units. Demand for the new Prius in Australia is still uncertain.

While many of us believe the Prius is the right car for the right time and an excellent marketing exercise by Toyota, it still remains to be seen if it’s green credentials live up to the claims over time.

Similar diesel cars (e.g. the Mini Cooper D) not only use less fuel but have comparable CO2 outputs making the high demand and the attention on the Prius a rather complex story.

At the moment Toyota has not began speculating as to what numbers other markets will require.






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