And unfortunately for both Toyota and consumers, who hoped to drive a Prius in the near future, the problem will continue even next year, according to a report by themotorreport.co.au. Toyota is currently assembling the Prius in Japan and rolls out around 500,000 units per year. Panasonic aims to increase production to 1 million batteries per year by mid 2010.
"The new Prius model has been excessively popular, inconveniencing some of our customers, and the factories are working overtime at full capacity," Takahiko Ijichi, Toyota Senior Managing Director, said. "Unfortunately, the batteries are not catching up with demand. Production of the batteries needs to be increased in order for our production to go up."
Nevertheless, a couple of markets are still unaffected by the lack of batteries for the Prius and consumers can still purchase Toyota's flagship hybrid. In Australia for example, the inventories are still OK, local Toyota officials said.
"At this stage, from our point of view, dealer supplies aren’t affected," Mike Breen, Toyota Australia Public Relations Manager, told the aforementioned source. "Sales of the Prius in Australia are going quite well, and while specific figures haven’t come in yet - they’re due today - we can say that it’s doing well."