LAST MONTH'S LAUNCH of the 2010 Toyota Prius has paid dividends for Toyota Australia. The company's latest hybrid has recorded 446 sales in its first month in Australia, an all-time record for the Prius line.
Significantly, the Prius officially went on sale from July 20, meaning the car has yet to record a full month in the showroom.
Toyota cites the car's mainstream appeal as the primary reason for its success, but greater public awareness of carbon emissions and climbing fuel prices are also likely factors in the Prius' popularity.
The 2010 Prius has proved itself a hit overseas. Japanese motorists bought 22,292 Prius models in June, and Toyota has upped its annual production forecast from 400,000 to 500,000 cars.
To date, over 1.33 million Prius models have been sold globally, with 13,300 of those being sold in Australia.
The Prius' main competitor, the Honda Insight (above), has also been selling well. The Insight's first month of European sales saw it take top spot as the most popular alternative-fuel vehicle in Europe, where it also outsold the last-gen Prius in the UK.
The Insight's overseas popularity has caused some problems locally.
Originally slated to arrive here in late 2009, overseas demand has instead pushed back the Insight's local launch to some time in the second half of 2010, giving the Prius a substantial headstart in the showrooms.