TOKYO (AP) - Toyota expects annual sales of its newly-released fourth generation Prius hybrid to reach as many as 350,000 vehicles.

TOKYO (AP) Toyota expects annual sales of its newly-released fourth generation Prius hybrid to reach as many as 350,000 vehicles.

The automaker is promising mileage of 40.8 kilometers a liter (96 miles a gallon) in Japan for its latest version of the gasoline-electric car, better than the 40 kpm initially projected.

Mileage tests and driving conditions differ by nation. Toyota Motor Corp. has promised about 52 mpg in the U.S.

Toyota faced skepticism when it first introduced Prius in 1997, but it has become the world's top-selling hybrid.

Japan sales started Wednesday, and are set for January in North America and February om Europe.

Toyota says it's expecting to sell 12,000 Prius cars a month in Japan, with projected annual global sales at 300,000 to 350,000 vehicles. Japan pre-orders total 60,000 vehicles.