TOKYO -- In the first half of 2005, Toyota Motor Corp. will boost output of its Prius hybrid car to 15,000 a month from 10,000 a month currently.
Toyota is increasing production to meet a backlog of orders in the United States.
"Demand in America is very strong, so we'd like to focus production more on overseas markets" rather than for sales in Japan, said Takeshi Suzuki, a Toyota senior managing director in charge of finance.
The higher figure represents straight-time capacity. Currently, Toyota builds 10,000 a month, plus another 10,000 a year on overtime, for an annual output of 130,000. Toyota thus may be able to exceed the straight-time level of 180,000 a year by means of overtime.
Suzuki could not specify when Toyota would begin building more of the hybrids. It is negotiating with suppliers over when and how to procure more batteries, power-control units, and motors.
It also has not decided whether to build the cars in a second plant. Currently, it builds the Prius at its Tsutsumi plant near its central-Japan headquarters in Toyota City.