New Prius deliveries to be delayed

Toyota has unveiled a bigger edition of its flagship petrol-electric hybrid Prius, but said buyers may have to wait nearly a year to take deliveries.

The new Prius a, or Prius alpha, comes in a five-seater and a seven-seater version offering more space than its predecessor.

However, a shortage of batteries and the slowdown in production resulting from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami means the new models may not arrive until April next year, the company said.

Toyota has already had to delay the sales launch from late April due to the pressure on parts supply following the March 11 twin disasters, which affected several major Japanese car component makers.

The five-seater Prius alpha is due to go on sale in North America towards the end of 2011, while the larger model, which can seat seven in three rows, will be introduced in Europe next year.

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