However, Toyota is predicting that it will sell 2,000 of its £16,495 Prius models a year and Powershift does not have the funds to pledge a £1,000 incentive to each buyer.
Toyota is selling the Prius through a nationwide network of 60 hybrid technology centres, selected from the company's 230 dealers. They are trained in the sale and maintenance of Prius models and are subject to independently audited checks on their environmental performance.
A Toyota spokesman told FNN: 'It has been agreed that £1,000 under the Powershift programme will be given to the buyers of the first 200 Prius models as an incentive for them. That is the same as for the Honda Insight and the agreement will run to March. After March 2001 Powershift will receive its new budget and we hope consideration will be given to the fact that Toyota plans to sell significantly more Prius models than Honda does of its Insight.'
David Morgan, Powershift programme manager, said: 'We are in discussion with the Government and Toyota to see what else we can do, but we are aware of the issue.
'If the Government decides we should fund more than 200 vehicles we will look at how we can do it. But if we get a decision where we have limited funding and should target certain areas, we will have to live with it. However, there seems to be a good case for continuing to support more Prius cars - but by how much and how many will have to be decided.'
- More information on the Prius and the hybrid technology centres is available on the Toyota website.