If sales figures are an indicator of consumers’ confidence in the Toyota Prius brand then it appears that the company has rebounded nicely from the recall woes of early 2010. In May 2010, Toyota sold 14, 248 Priuses; this is a 41.2 percent increase over the May 2009 sales figure of 10,091. The economy is better now than it was a year ago so it should come as no surprise that auto sales are up but the Prius also bested its April 2010 sales figure of 12,555 units.

The combined sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids was also up with a total of 19,110 hybrids being sold in May 2010, up 28.7 percent from May 2009. This includes 1,360 Lexus HS 250h hybrids, which is about half of all Lexus hybrid sales for the month.

The gains that Toyota realized in both its hybrid and standard lineup come despite a decrease in interest in the automaker as reported by Cars.com. The website tracks customer interest and shows that leads for the Toyota line are down by five percent when compared to the same time period last year.

"While the Toyota trend is somewhat expected, what's more interesting is the fact that Honda has seen a significant decline as well," said Cars.com Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen. "Honda execs mentioned that they felt there might be some consumer backlash towards Japanese manufacturers as a result of the Toyota recalls and that certainly could be at play here." Source: Cars.com

Although customer interest in Honda is down according to Cars.com, overall the company posted a 19.1 percent increase in sales across its Honda and Acura divisions in May 2010. Unfortunately the increase in sales wasn’t the result of a sudden rise in demand for the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid. Insight sales were down to 1,913 units in May 2010 from 2,780 in May 2009, a 31.2 percent decline.

Overall the auto industry is recovering nicely from the dark times of 2008 and 2009 and sales for the Toyota Prius continue to rise despite the company’s recall woes. As 2010 comes to a close and the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt prepare to enter the marketplace, it will be interesting to see how the Prius fares.