Toyota Brand Chief: Bring on More Prius Versions

By dancurranjr On April 14th, 2009

toyota_priusLove the Prius?

You may get more to love in the future.

The Toyota brand chief in the U.S., Bob Carter, says he thinks that gas-electric Prius will be the automaker’s best-known modelin the future, just the way that Camry is probably its best known model 2010priuspg-horizontal now. So coming out with Prius versions that are a little bigger, or a little smaller, to fit more family needs is something that he’s pushing for internally.

Carter also says:

  • Toyota is working on a hybrid version of the Yaris subcompact in Japan, but there has been no decision about whether it should go on sale.
  • The automaker will have a hybrid version of every class of vehicles in the 2020s. Worldwide, it plans to introduce 10 new hybrids in the next two years
  • Toyota’s midsized SUV, the Highlander, is getting a four-cylinder engine option despite its heft. It is the new, gutsy but quiet 2.7-liter four that’s also going into the Venza crossover.
  • A diesel version of the Tundra full-size pickup truck was pushed back. Tundra sales have been badly whacked by the recession.

In more Prius news, USA TODAY’s James R. Healey reports:

Toyota says it’ll put 150 plug-in versions of the new Prius into the hands of commercial users — utility companies for example — for field testing later this year, before considering a plug-in for showroom sale. Toyota says it needs at least a year of fleet data, and at least another year to tweak for regular customers. So, no plug-in Prius for at least two years; probably longer. The ones going into fleet service later this year go drive up to 7 miles on battery only. Want more than that? You’d have to pony up big bucks for a heftier battery, and you’d spend longer recharging it.

Here’s what Jim had to say about the new, non-plug-in Prius in last Friday’s Test Drive. In a nutshell, “more posh, more power.”


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