It looks like Toyta's expanding the Prius "brand." The Prius is Toyota's most popular hybrid model in the US, the succes of which it chalks up to the image statement an exclusive model like the Prius makes. People want to be seen and make a statement with their greenness, nevermind all the raw materials, energy, and resources it took to bring that car to the showroom. Toyota says the low emissions and fuel economy of the Prius offset those hits. If they say so...
Leveraging their leading hybrid technology with another model will allow customers more choice and Toyota will be able to spread development costs across a couple of models. What it all means is that consumers will have a new midsize hybrid Toyota to ogle in 2009 (Hollywood stars, reserve yours now to ensure delivery by Oscar night), and Toyota will be able to speed research and engineering for further refinements to its Hybrid Synergy Drive. The new car will have a larger engine to align itself better with American's torque-junkie tastes, and hopefully it will be better looking than the Prius (or the rest of Toyota's current offerings, for that matter). As part of Toyota's plan for world domination, it's set a goal of one million hybrid sales by 2010. It's not clear whether that's single-year sales, or total sales since the first dowdy little battery-pack-mobile arrived on the scene.

[Source: Autoblog Green]


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