For Toyota's Prius, high gas prices mean big sales

Last month, sales of the hybrid were up 52 percent -- the highest number in nearly four years.
Written by Sarah Korones, Contributor

Thanks in large part to high prices at the gas pump, Toyota had a near record-breaking month for sales of its gas/electric hybrid the Prius.

Prius sales were up 52 percent in February with 20,589 cars sold in the United States—the highest amount in nearly four years. The Japanese company hopes for a record number of Prius sales in 2012 with a set goal to sell 220,000 of the vehicles by year’s end.

So far, the automotive giant is well on its way. Toyota starts March with over 25,000 Prius hatchbacks and wagons on the way to dealers—one of the highest levels the company has had in the US for its hybrid model, reports Bloomberg.

The expected high price of gas this summer and the introduction of the Prius c later this month could also indicate big upcoming sales for the company. Priced at $19,000 and with a fuel economy rating of 53 mpg, the Prius c will be Toyota’s most affordable hybrid vehicle yet.

"It’s a whole different story from a year ago,” Don Mushin, general manager at Toyota of Hollywood in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg. “If gas prices go to $5, I think the Prius c that’s priced at around $20,000 will probably be the commuter car for everybody.”

Image: Toyota

[via TreeHugger]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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