Reuters is reporting that production of the Prius will increase this year by 40%, to meet the expected increase in demand. Currently, hybrids account for only 1% of sales in the US, but the launch of new models is expected to increase this figure.
Most of the European carmakers are developing new ultra-clean diesel powered cars that offer better mileage rates than the Prius hybrid and cost less to maintain. Toyota last November formed an equity tie-up with truck maker Isuzu to co-develop a new range of diesels in an effort to catch up. In 2005, the company bought a stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Subaru, to increase its production capacity in North America. Hopefully, this will lead to the introduction of a new diesel powered vehicle from Toyota to rival the Europeans.