Toyota’s third-generation Prius was released earlier this year and there is substantial demand for the car, including 150,000 backlogged orders because of battery pack and inverter shortages from supplier Panasonic EV Energy.
Right now, Toyota has two plants producing the Prius at a rate of 46,000 vehicles per month. Because of the car’s success, the plants are working overtime and holiday shifts to meet market demand. However, the plants are not at full capacity because of parts shortages. Panasonic EV Energy supplies the battery packs and inverters for the Prius and cannot keep up with the amount of parts needed. The supplier is adding another factory next year to boost annual capacity in an effort to keep up with Toyota’s demand.
“Even though we have the capacity on the assembly line, for some parts we don’t have enough numbers,” said Hidenori Nagai, general manager of Toyota’s Tsutsumi plant, which produces 30,000 Prius cars per month.
The Prius production accounts for 80 percent of Tsutsumi’s total output, with the Scion tC and Japanese-market Premio and Allion sedans making up the other 20 percent. This is a stark contrast to last year, when the second-generation Prius made up a mere 25 percent of Nagai’s total output.
Toyota is targeting global sales of 500,000 to 600,000 units in the first full year with its third-generation Prius. As evidence of people’s interest in the new car as well as the bottleneck in production, Toyota had more than 150,000 backlogged orders for the Prius by the end of September. Parts shortages could become even greater in the coming months with the launch of both the Lexus HS 250h and the Japanese Toyota Sai.
Source: Automotive News