The Prius Problem

Sales of the Prius fell 26 percent in June due to the manufacturing backlog.
© Toyota

Toyota can't keep up with demand for its gas-sipping Prius hybrid. Many would-be customers have added their names to six-month-long waiting lists for the cars. Surging gas prices in the U.S. are driving demand, and Toyota's inability to supply the hybrid and other small fuel efficient models played a large role in a company-wide 11.5 percent sales lag in the month of June.

Sales of the Prius alone fell 26 percent in June due to the manufacturing backlog. "It is very doubtful that there is going to be a lot of recovery this year to be able to satisfy consumer demand and that is very unfortunate," said Jim Lentz, Toyota's head of North American sales, in reference to the Prius. The company is working to add capacity to build more of the cars faster in Japan for distribution to the U.S. Customers have been told to hang on and wait. As long as gas prices stay high, waiting lists for the cars are likely to stay long.

Source: Planet Ark