GENEVA – Toyota Motor Corp. Europe says it has received 3,000 confirmed orders for its Prius hybrid vehicle that goes on sale in select European countries at the end of April.

The strong order bank equals six months’ allocation for the vehicle in the region, Takis Athanasopoulos, chief operating officer of TMCE, says at the auto show here.

Toyota Prius

“We have already received 3,000 signed customer contracts. This is equal to one-half-year’s worth of volume,” he says.

Athanasopoulos says Toyota only has taken orders from half of the countries where Prius will launch later this year.

The strong reaction in Europe helped prompt Toyota to announce late last year it would boost Prius output from 90,000 units to 120,000 units in 2004.

Toyota says it expects to report its eighth-consecutive year of sales growth in Europe this year. The auto maker predicts it will sell more than 154,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the region, a 24% rise from 2003 results.

kekelly@primediabusiness.com