TUPELO – An initial shipment of some 1,500 new third-generation Toyota Prius hybrids is on its way to the five-state region covered by Gulf States Toyota but the cars are selling quickly.
Mike McLellan, general manager for Carlock Toyota in Tupelo, said two of the seven Prius the dealership is getting are spoken for. The first one was snapped up within five hours after it was offered for sale.
“I don’t think 1,500 is enough, but they tell us we’ll be getting more,” he said. “Interest if very high in them.”
Rick Martinez, a retail development manager for Gulf States, an independent Toyota distributor that serves 154 dealerships in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, said plenty are in the pipeline.
“They’re on their way from Japan and should be available in just a few weeks,” he said.
The Prius, first introduced in the U.S. in 1997, is the world’s best-selling hybrid. More than 1.2 million have been sold, the bulk of them in the U.S.
Toyota is building the Prius at a rate of about 50,000 a month.
Plans to build the Prius in Blue Springs are on hold until market conditions improve, Toyota has said.
Billed as a “technological marvel” by Martinez, two Prius were on display at Carlock, which had an unveiling ceremony Wednesday morning.
More than 50 people attended the event.
Among them was Randy Kelley, executive director of the Three Rivers Planning and Development District.
“The only fault I see in the new Prius is that it’s not being made in Blue Springs yet,” he said with a laugh.
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal