Toyota said on Monday its new Prius had received pre-sale orders for 80,000 vehicles in Japan, kicking off what promises to be a fierce battle against hybrid rival Honda.
Toyota, which has dominated the market for petrol-electric cars so far, is looking to take back the crown after Honda’s new Insight became the first hybrid ever to top the best-sellers’ list in Japan last month.
“The hybrid market is going to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world,” said JPMorgan Securities auto analyst Takaki Nakanishi.
“With the global economy in a recession, luxury and large cars are not selling but fuel-conscious cars are in fact growing. Toyota’s earnings performance is hurting right now, and they can’t afford to lose the lead in this market,” he said.
Source: Automotive News