Toyota’s Plug-in Prius Poses a Threat to the Chevy Volt

The sale of Toyota’s new plug-in Prius set to begin in 2012 will possibly put Toyota (NYSE:TM) ahead of General Motors (NYSE:GM) in the gas and electric vehicles industry. The GM Chevrolet Volt, which was the first plug-in hybrid on the market, has sales below the company’s target. The Prius is expected to cost 20% less than the Volt.

Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. , said, “Toyota carries the image of being a leader in hybrids and the recent problems with the Volt’s batteries give consumers an extra reason to choose the plug-in Prius over the Volt. Toyota’s new plug-in Prius will definitely have a negative impact on GM’s sales of the Volt.”

Many other automakers are pushing into the plug-in market as well. Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC), Mitsubishi Motors Corp. , Audi AG and Hyundai Motor Co. all have plans to introduce new plug-in vehicles.

These types of vehicles are in demand. Toyota has targeted global sales of 60,000 units of the PHV in its first year. GM expects sales of 60,000 next year.

Here’s how these stocks are trading now:

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM): TM shares recently traded at $67.08, down $0.97, or 1.43%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $60.37 to $93.90. Volume today was 250,899 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 546,455 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 40.90, while trailing earnings are $1.64 per share.

General Motors Corporation (NYSE:GM): GM shares recently traded at $21.37, down $0.22, or 1.02%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $19.05 to $39.48. Volume today was 1,827,361 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 12,555,200 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 4.67, while trailing earnings are $4.57 per share.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (NYSE:HMC): HMC shares recently traded at $31.61, down $0.02, or 0.06%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $27.52 to $44.56. Volume today was 78,128 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 693,919 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 20.39, while trailing earnings are $1.55 per share.