Toyota Motor Corp. anticipates that in 2012, the U.S. supplies of its best-selling Prius will go up to about 70% of typical levels this June. The earthquake in Japan had affected production at the company.
Bob Carter, group vice president for U.S. sales, said that Toyota's U.S. unit is expected to have monthly sales of about 12,000 units, or at least 36,000 Prius cars from June to August. He said that this figure will increase if Japan output recovers quicker.
At a briefing in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Carter said that supplies in the upcoming three months will be “much improved” and will be about 60-70% of normal levels. He said that by raising the supply, Toyota will be able to take advantage of the increasing demand for the gasoline-electric model due to surging fuel prices.
Earlier this year, Toyota said that its Prius may be on track to set a sales record in the U.S. But then, how the earthquake in Japan will affect Prius sales has yet to be fully estimated.
The damage to the power plants and factories has disrupted car production and had left dealers in the U.S. with limited or zero inventory. AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge website said that on May 17, the gasoline in the U.S. cost an average of $3.926 a gallon on May 17.
This is about 28% higher than the average price on Jan. 1. Carter didn’t give specific figures but he stated that Prius sales in the U.S. this month could drop compared to the prior year because of a shortage in supply.