Toyota's third generation Prius has proved so popular that the cars battery supplier, Panasonic simply can�t match demand and as a result customer waiting lists now extend up to 10 months world wide.
Yesterday at the company's quarterly earnings announcement 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."
Toyota has production capacity to build 500,000 Prius hybrids per year, which Panasonic EV Energy can supply, but with booming demand for the new Prius, Toyota is hampered by the inability of the battery supplier to quickly increase production.
Last summer Toyota said it would begin to build the Prius at its Tupelo, Miss., factory in late 2010, but that plan is currently on indefinite hold. Ijichi says Toyota won't invest to expand Prius production until it is assured of an adequate battery supply.
Panasonic believes it will be able to match demand in a few months as it doubles EV battery production capacity to one million batteries per year by 2010.