Gas prices this year have been low compared to last year’s prices, prompting Toyota to make adjustments to its 2013 sales projections for the three-vehicle Prius hybrid range, according to a Bloomberg report. In California, the Toyota Prius family is one of the most in-demand cars but how it fares in the other states mostly depend on the prices of fuel.
Toyota had estimated that over 250,000 units of the Prius will be sold in 2013, which is higher than how many it sold in 2012. But in the first quarter, sales of Prius-branded vehicles fell by 8.4%. Nevertheless, sales for other Toyota and Lexus hybrid models grew by 2.4%. Jim Lentz, Toyota’s North American CEO, remains optimistic.
He said that there are more than 2 million Toyota hybrid owners in the U.S., majority of whom are return customers. He added that Toyota doesn’t think that Ford’s hybrid offerings pose any threat to it. Because of the slowdown in Prius demand, the start of Prius production in the U.S. may also be postponed. It’s believed that the Prius will be produced at its newly opened Mississippi facility, which presently builds the Corolla compact sedan.