About a month ago, my husband and I joined the one million US owners of the Toyota Prius. We had been talking about getting a fuel efficient, hybrid vehicle for quite some time. After much debate, my husband finally caved and traded in his G37 Sports Coupe to “bring harmony between man, nature and machine.” This is our “going green” story…
The pressure was on. If we wanted to get our hands on a Toyota Prius we needed to act fast! Economists at car-research firms, like Edmunds.com, speculated that “the best-selling hybrid in America, the Toyota Prius, could soon be out of stock.”
The earthquake and tsunami that have caused over 10,000 deaths, swept away whole towns and plunged Japan into a nuclear crisis will have an impact on U.S. car buyers. After visiting multiple dealerships and only finding a few Priuses in the Twin Cities area, we knew we were running out of time. Now was the time to buy.
After a long day at the dealership, we were the proud owners of a Prius. Since our purchase, we’ve come across article after article predicting the shortage of the popular hybrid. Toyota's Prius, unlike most other vehicles by Japanese car manufacturers, is exclusively made in Japan. Toyota's Yaris, Corolla, and several Scion models are also built in the quake region. The hybrid's main assembly plant, as well as two battery plants, are located near Tokyo. According to Toyota’s website, both factories have been damaged by last month’s natural disaster. And the hybrid's plants are located in the region of the country affected by power outages.
Those planning to head to the dealer this spring for a Toyota, an American-made car, or even a gas-guzzler could feel the aftershocks from the Japanese earthquake. Both Nissan and Honda have plants that have been damaged or shut down by the quake. Nissan has also delayed the long-anticipated arrival of the Leaf, the first purely electric vehicle, in the U.S. The simple fact of the matter is, even if dealers do not run out of cars, prices will likely rise.
After a few weeks of ownership, we’re lovin’ our Prius. We love the 56 miles per gallon and the ease of putting our Boxer, Winchester, in the back, "hatch-back" area instead of coaxing him to jump into the back of our sport coupe! The Prius is definitely a win for Winchester and the Thomases.
You can read more about "green" cars in the Twin Cities in this blog post from earlier this year.