Sales for the Toyota Prius in April 2006 has dropped nearly 25% compared to April 2005, the same time period last year. Toyota sold 7,500 Toyota Prius hybrids in April 2006, compared to 11,345 in April 2005. Sales for the year 2006 to date is also 10% less compared to the same time period in 2005.

This drop has been touted as a reflection of the public’s declining interest in hybrid cars (Carlos Ghosn would be smug about this), but Toyota says the drop in sales is because of a production shortage, nota decline in the vehicle’s popularity.

Jim Lentz, group vice president and general manager for Toyota said to the media “If I had the vehicles, we could do 250,000 this year. We’re going to end April with just a four-day supply of Prius, and I don’t see that situation improving until later this year“. Toyota’s estimate of 250,000 is more than double the amount of Toyota Prius hybrids sold in 2005 (107,897 cars) but looks like whether it’s production issues or lower popularity, the figure won’t be achieved this year.