Demand for the Toyota Prius in the U.S. is so high that most new models sit on dealer lots for an average of just five days, and waiting lists of or more than three months are becoming more and more common. Toyota is struggling to keep up with demand, and has started construction of several new plants in Japan to supply more nickel-metal hydride batteries for its hybrid vehicles.

The lack of supply is leading to inflated prices for second-hand Prius models, with a number of used cars selling for more than brand new vehicles. J.D. Power has calculated that for the first three weeks of July the average new Prius has spent only five days on dealer lots, while used 2007 models are sitting not much longer at just 20 days.

In addition to the fast turnaround times, 2008 model year Prius vehicles are selling for an average of $26,672, while used 2008 models with less than 10,000 miles on the odometer are selling for nearly $1300 more - averaging at $27,945 across the U.S. Even 2007 cars, with an average of more than 22,000 miles on the clock, are commanding up to $26,396 on average - just $276 off the average transaction price for a new model.

To avoid such problems in the future Toyota is committed to boosting production of the next-generation Prius, due to go on sale next April, by 70% and has confirmed that the new model will be built in the U.S. for the first time.

Via: Next Autos