Toyota boosts Prius output

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. is revving up production of its hit Prius to meet better-than-expected demand for the latest version of the world’s top-selling hybrid, the Japanese automaker said Wednesday.
“We are considering steps to increase production to meet demand,” Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said.
But what that means for the automaker’s Blue Springs plant isn’t known. Toyota in December said it was postponing indefinitely the opening of the facility, which was scheduled to begin producing Prius late next year.
A spokeswoman for Toyota Mississippi said “there have been no changes.”
Toyota declined comment on public broadcaster NHK TV’s report that overtime was resuming at its Japanese factories.
Toyota was among the Japanese automakers forced to halt production at its assembly plants earlier this year to reduce production and lower inventories after being hammered by the global financial crisis.
But production has returned to normal at Toyota and other plants, starting this month.
Toyota says it has received 80,000 orders for the third-generation Prius, which rolled out earlier this month. It declined comment on a Kyodo News report that such orders had jumped to 110,000, and Toyota is raising Prius production from its initial plan for 42,000 to 43,000 vehicles a month to 50,000.
Production for Toyota Mississippi was originally projected to be 120,000 to 150,000 a year.

Staff and wire reports