Automaker expands its hybrid family at home and abroad
Friday 11 March 2011
Encouraged by the runaway success of its Prius gas-electric hybrid sedan, Toyota Motor Corp. has announced that it will launch a minivan version in late April in Japan.
The new seven-seater is expected to have a price tag of around Y3 million (€26,165) when it hits roads in Japan, and the automaker aims to make it available in the United States as soon as this summer and in Europe in the early part of 2012. Toyota recently showcased the new international models for the Prius line at the Detroit and Geneva motor shows, a five seater dubbed the Prius v in the US and a seven-seater Prius + in Europe.
Toyota has unveiled a prototype of the wagon version of the Prius - which has tentatively been named the Prius Space Concept - while a second new version will keep the five-seat layout of the present generation of the vehicle but will have a larger interior, the company said.
The larger of the two vehicles is to be equipped with a lithium-ion battery, weighing 34 kg and situated between the seat occupied by the driver and the front passenger, instead of the larger and heavier metal hydride batteries that are standard in the present Prius.
Both new variants, which have retained the distinctive front-end designs, will also have 1.8-liter gasoline engines. Improvements in the design of the engine mean it will have a fuel efficiency of at least 30 km per litre, the company said.
In the 14 years since the first Prius rolled off Toyota's production lines, more than 2.5 million of the cars have been sold. Sales in the domestic market have dipped in recent months, however, after the Japanese government ended a subsidy scheme for people buying environment-friendly vehicles.
Toyota's sales have also been affected by its rivals releasing their own green vehicles, including Mitsubishi Motors' iMieV and Nissan Motors' fast-selling Leaf, both of which use plug-in electric power as their fuel.
The Prius was the best-selling car in Japan for 19 straight months until December of last year, but lost top spot to Honda Motor Co.'s Fit subcompact in January.
Honda is similarly about to unveil its own hybrid station wagon, the Fit Shuttle, on March 17, and setting the scene for a battle for market share between the two companies.
Life & Style blogs
When did the Eiffel Tower open to the public? Six things you didn't know about iconic structure
Google Maps Pacman: company offers chance to play arcade classic on streets around the world
Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Worst time to be a parent revealed: Dinner, baths and bed time push stress levels to peak
American Apparel gets another ad banned by advertising watchdog for sexualising children
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...
£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...
£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established London ba...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...