As part of Toyota Motor Corp.'s goal to sell 1 million hybrids each year worldwide soon after 2010, it has set a target of 36,000 units annually for sales of its new hybrid Sai sedan in Japan.
The Prius is Toyota's first hybrid car while the Sai came in second. The Sai is actually a repackaged version of the Lexus HS250h, which went on sale in June.
If you´re in Japan, expect the Sai to go on sale in your country on December 7. The Sai is more expensive than the Prius and is priced at 3.38 million yen ($37,290), considerably lower than the HS250h, which is priced from 3.96 million yen.
Toyota Motor Kyushu in southern Japan is building the Sai and for now, there are no plans to export it.
The Sai's listed mileage is 23 km/liter (54 mpg), or twice that of a comparable gasoline car, according to chief engineer Shigeru Nakagawa who spoke at a news conference. The Sai concept was derived from a Japanese character that means talent and coloration.
Despite the admirable efforts of its rivals, Toyota still enjoys its lead over the others in the hybrid segment. It's not surprising that Toyota's hybrids prosper in Japan due to the generous subsidies and reduced taxes imposed on cleaner cars.
Toyota expects to sell 500,000 to 600,000 hybrid vehicles globally this year.. If it goes higher than that, production will be stalled due to a short-term battery supply shortage.