Green car market heats up in Japan

The latest version of Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius hybrid vehicle has received a warm welcome from consumers in Japan, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has responded by slashing the price of its i-MiEV vehicle to make it the first electric car available to the general public for less than Y2 million (€17,406).

Toyota has announced that it received 52,000 orders for its new Prius Alpha in the month after it first went on sale, far outstripping the 3,000 units it set as a sales target before the launch.

The majority of the orders were for the five-seat wagon version of the vehicle, while 14,000 people opted for the seven-seat minivan.

The figures will be welcomed by Toyota, which has had serious problems procuring components for its vehicles in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which damaged many of its suppliers' production facilities, and saw sales of the previous Prius version tumble 76.1 percent in May.

The new seven-seater has a price tag of around Y3 million (€26,165) and the automaker aims to make it available in the United States as soon as this summer and in Europe in the early part of 2012.

The launch of the new Prius may well have been a contributing factor behind Mitsubishi Motors' decision to cut Y1 million (€8,740) off the sticker price of its i-MiEV electric vehicle, which was already competing with Nissan Motor Co.'s Leaf.

The cheaper version will have a smaller battery, reducing the distance that it can travel without needing to be recharged. At present, the lithium ion batteries in the i-MiEV give it a range of 160 km, which will be pared down to 120 km.

The announcements come on top of more good news for Japan's all-important auto industry, with manufacturers moving to step up production in the second half of the fiscal year as they overcome the problems caused by the natural disasters of March.

Toyota and Nissan have announced that they are nearly back to the same producion levels as before the earthquake and Honda Motor Co. is expected to be in a similar position before the end of June, fully two months faster than it initially anticipated.

Demand will be particularly strong in areas of northern Japan worst affected by the tsunami, where tens of thousands of cars were crushed by the waves.

JR

 

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before