Prius Sees Supply Shortfalls, U.S. Customers Affected

If you’re looking for a deal on a new Toyota Prius, you’d better act fast. Rising prices for these cars are putting the brakes on an upward demand pressure that has Americans scrambling to get behind the wheel of one of these top rated hybrids.

Directly after the Japanese earthquakes a couple of months ago, industry reports showed a virtual collapse in production capacity for the Prius and a range of other Toyota models. Industry analysts projected price rises: ALG, an auto value company known for producing price forecasts, predicted a transaction price rise for the new Prius of 1-2% based on a 20 day interruption of manufacturing, and up to 8-9% for a 100 day interruption. Later, as Japanese factories struggled to re-open facilities, deal with power outages, and get adequate parts supplies, the base MSRP for the 2011 Prius was raised by an average of about $470, or 1-2%, according to a March 31 Toyota press release.

All of this has stateside consumers wrangling with the question of whether a 2011 Prius is still a prudent buy at this time. With prices skyrocketing at the pump, hybrids are all the rage, but even with gas savings, these cars aren’t cheap, and the higher MSRP that correlates to higher demand and lower supply can squeeze a financing deal. Some customers are reporting that local dealers have also cut some incentives for the Prius as these cars get more scarce.

At the end of March, U.S. News was reporting that it could be back to business for Japanese auto production, but supply issues still plague a nation wracked by natural disasters, and that means continued uncertainty for Prius buyers in the U.S. Experts recommend putting in an order early if you need to have one of these greener vehicles, and asking the right questions at the dealership to make sure that supply issues and excessive financing costs don’t put a double whammy on your monthly payments.