Image: The Toyota Prius V is on display during the press day for the North American International Auto show in Detroit
MARK BLINCH  /  Reuters
The Toyota Prius V is on display during the press day for the North American International Auto show in Detroit, Michigan, January 11, 2011.
msnbc.com news services
updated 4/6/2011 9:09:01 AM ET 2011-04-06T13:09:01

Toyota Motor Corp., struggling to restart production after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, said Wednesday it has sold one million Prius hybrids in the United States.

The automaker said the Prius has been the top-selling hybrid in the U.S. since it went on sale 11 years ago.

The Prius is powered by both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. It can get up to 51 miles per gallon in the city and 48 on the highway.

It has become increasingly popular this year as gas prices nationwide have moved toward $4 per gallon.

Toyota said it has sold more than 2 million Priuses worldwide.

The March 11 earthquake in Japan forced Toyota to stop production at most Japanese factories. But the company restarted two plants that make Prius and Lexus models on March 28.

Toyota will begin making two more car models on April 11, taking another small step towards normalising operations. But the world's largest automaker denied a report that most of its idled domestic factories would restart next week and has also warned that supply disruptions were likely to interrupt vehicle assembly at one or more of its North American factories at some point.

Moody's Investors Service warned Wednesday it may downgrade its credit rating for Toyota due to the financial fallout from suspended car production following the March 11 quake and tsunami.

The warning came as Toyota, the world's No. 1 carmaker, is struggling to resume output in Japan after the twin disasters disrupted supply chains and caused shortages of parts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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