Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Toyota reduces price for hybrid model amid fierce competition

Toyota Motor Corp has reduced the price of its China-made Prius hybrid car by up to 8% to boost sales when confronted with stagnation, pressed by the imminent launch of hybrid models by several rival auto makers including Shanghai GM, Chang'an Motor, Chery and Honda.

The price of Prius hybrid was cut to RMB 259,800 (US$36,500) from previous RMB 282,200 and the price of its flagship model has also been reduced by RMB 22,200 to RMB 279,800, the auto giant said on its website, adding that there are no changes in configuration.

The move aims to boost sales of the model which only sold 414 vehicles last year, compared with 2,152 models in 2006 when it made the debut in mainland China.

Relatively high prices and maintenance cost are the main reasons for the gloomy sales. For instance, the selling price for a Toyota Prius 1.5L remained between RMB 282,000 and RMB 302,000, equivalent to the cost for a mid to high-end traditional car of 2.5L engine, market analysts said.

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