Toyota Cranks Up Production Of The Prius C

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Jan 18, 2012

    "The Volt has a max speed of approx. 70mph on battery alone, to go faster it runs the gasoline engine in parallel to provide more oomph." Not true. That's only once the battery has been depeleted and it's running in charge sustaining mode. Having demo'd a Volt for 2 days I can tell you from first hand experience that it effortlessly cruises at 80 MPH, spewing nothing but electrons as long as the battery hasn't been depleted.

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Mar 16, 2012

    Volt can go 103 without the engine, its calibrated maximum speed.

  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain