Strong, early demand is leading Toyota to sharply increase production of its all-new Prius V hybrid, the second model in an all-new brand-within-a-brand of gas-electric vehicles.
The maker – still struggling with production cuts due to the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami – hopes to start rolling out 5,000 of the Prius V hybrid wagons by August or September, up from initial plans to build 3,000 a month.
Toyota is hoping that the Prius V will help sales of its hybrid models rebound from an unexpected slowdown in the key U.S. market once it goes on sale in the fall.
Known in the U.S. as the Prius V, but sold elsewhere as the Prius Alpha, the new hybrid will be the second model to bear the familiar Prius badge. Toyota plans to create an entire line-up of gas-electric models sharing the Prius name, including a small hybrid, tentatively dubbed Prius C, due to reach market about a year from now. A plug-in version of the original Prius will also be introduced in 2012, and the maker hints other hybrid models could follow.