The compact hybrid Prius C went on sale in Japan (where it is called Aqua) last month. If you would buy one today in Japan, you would get your car some time in late spring. Toyota already has orders for more than 60,000. In order to not let the line grow longer, Toyota is cranking up its assembly lines at the Kanto Auto Works in Iwate Prefecture.
According to The Nikkei [sub] Toyota will make around 20,000 units of the new car this month, but will increase production to some 30,000 units in in February and March.
The car, touted as one of the most fuel-efficient cars of the world, should become available in the U.S. some time this spring. It will come with an EPA city fuel economy rating of 53 mpg, and a starting MSRP of $19,000. Packaging the hybrid technology into a compact, and bringing the price down was an amazing engineering feat by the group around Toyota’s Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso.
I will drive the car tomorrow somewhere by the waterfront in Tokyo. It will be the Japanese spec, with the steering wheel on the wrong side and all. I will try not to take the thunder away from Alex Dykes, who has been invited by Toyota to attend a test drive of an undisclosed car, in the first week of February. My hunch is it’s the Prius C.
In Japan, the regular Prius Hybrid is the best-selling model. The current production volume makes the Aqua/Prius C already the second-most produced car in Japan. If production can keep up with demand, the Prius C will most likely take the crown as Japan’s #1 car this year.