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Prius sales put Toyota on track to set record

Los Angeles Toyota Motor, seeking record US Prius sales in 2012, said increased supply of the hybrid helped the automaker beat analysts’ estimates for February sales and will buoy gains in March amid rising fuel prices.

Asia’s largest carmaker reported on Thursday that sales of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles rose 12 per cent last month, more than the 8.2 per cent average of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Prius sales, including the v wagon, were up 52 per cent to 20,589, the highest in almost four years. The total for all Toyota and Lexus hybrids climbed 60 per cent.

“They’re targeting 220,000 Prius sales,” said Alan Baum, principal of Baum & Associates, a provider of auto-industry analysis in West Bloomfield, Michigan. “Given the assumption we’ll have high gas prices into the summer, this looks like a reasonably good bet.”
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