Since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Toyota has been struggling to bring its factories back up to normal production level – they’re aiming to return to full capacity by the end of the year. That’s a bad problem, but now the automaker has a good problem: orders for its new Prius Alpha hybrid minivan have soared to 25,000 in the first month – that’s 8 times the expected demand. Can the company keep up?
It’s likely that Toyota won’t be able to keep up, despite the fact that the company just announced the car will at least be released on time in the U.S. (it is called Prius V here and the Prius Alpha in Japan), but that’s not entirely bad news — at least not for Toyota.
Just as prices of the first- and second-Gen Priuses shot up far above MSRP as demand outstripped supply when the hybrid sedan was first introduced, the increased demand for the Alpha model could mean Toyota and its dealers will at least make a decent profit while they’re scrambling to catch up, which will help the company recover from the hits it has taken in recent months. Just be prepared to pay if you want to be the first on your block to own an Alpha MPV.