Market News

 April 03, 2012
Prius enjoys record demand as petrol prices spiral

 Toyota racked up a record number of US sales for its bellwether Prius during the first quarter of the year, on the back of the launch of two new models and petrol prices that have risen around $0.50 since the turn of the year.

The Japanese manufacturer sold 25,000 of the original Prius and v wagon, including the newly released plug-in Prius hybrid and c subcompact, last month. This beat the previous monthly sales record of just over 24,000 in May 2007 and took total first quarter sales to a record 57,000 units.

The performance keeps Toyota on track to meet its sales target of 220,000 during 2012, up from 136,463 in 2011 when deliveries and production were hampered by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Meanwhile, in the UK the company has announced its forthcoming Yaris hybrid will be priced from £14,995 when it hits the streets in July.

Orders are currently being taken for the basic T3 car, which will be accompanied by more sporty T4 and T Sprit versions for £15,895 and £16,995 respectively. Both T3 and T4 boast emissions of 79g/km, while T Sprits clocks in at 85g/km.

In related news, BMW yesterday unveiled a two-seater plug-in hybrid sportscar as the third concept in its low-carbon i series.

The i8 Concept Spyder follows on from the all-electric i3 city car and the i8 sportscar, but has additional on-board equipment including a pair of electric scooters, housed under a transparent tailgate.

The Spyder has a range of 19 miles running on electric power alone, while a high voltage generator hooked up to the combustion engine can generate additional power if needed and store it in the battery. It can accelerate from zero to 62mph in just five seconds and reach a top speed of 155mph, with a combined fuel consumption of 94mpg.

BMW said the fourth vehicle from the i stable would be released next year.