Fleet News

Prius' predicted popularity poses Powershift problem

PREDICTIONS that the Toyota Prius will sell 2,000 units a year in the UK alone when it goes on sale in October have prompted a search for cash at the Government-funded Powershift programme. The scheme, which provides grants for fleets to buy clean-fuelled vehicles, could only fund half the vehicles that Toyota expects to sell in the next year and is now searching for the cash to meet the expected higher demand.

Because the Prius is a hybrid, there is no conventional vehicle to compare it with, but last month Honda was awarded £1,000 for its Insight hybrid, which had a price tag of £17,000. If the same grant was provided to Toyota, Powershift could end up blowing £2 million just on money to support the sale of Toyotas.

Mike Moran, commercial director for Toyota, said: 'We think they were a bit taken by surprise by the sheer number of vehicles we expected to sell. They now need to work out what they are going to do about funding.'

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