• Oct 11th 2008 at 11:19AM
  • 15
This isn't the first time we've heard that Toyota might spin off the Prius as a separate brand much like Scion. But we now have the most concrete news about the automaker's plans we've seen yet.

Micheline Maynard of The New York Times talked with James E. Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. recently who said he was actively lobbying Toyota for the Prius brand spinoff and that the company was working on future models to expand the lineup. Lentz said he was pushing for a Yaris-sized Prius and a "Prius on steroids." He wouldn't comment on rumors of a Prius crossover, however. Lentz also said the new line would be sold alongside Toyota vehicles instead of separately like the company's Lexus brand.

When might this new Prius brand be approved by Toyota? Lentz would only say that he has a meeting in Japan next month.

Maynard writes that in all her years covering Toyota, "...I can say that executives rarely talk this much about an idea unless it is under active discussion, so the chances of a Prius brand are probably pretty good."

[Source: The New York Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I still think this is a good idea for Toyota. Work the equity and loyalty in the Prius name to create a whole 'lifestyle' brand.

      BUT this leaves Toyota as the dusty, not-as-competitive brand. Were they not boasting that in a few years ALL Toyotas would be hybrid? If that's the case, Prius the brand would really need to get weirder and more alternative, as Toyota maintains the trucky-traditional car company identity.
      • 6 Years Ago

      As GM is considered to be shedding brands and many are wishing Ford would shed the Mercury brand, Toyota is going in the opposite direction. So Toyota could be the GM of the 21st century
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mercury is very popular with women,and as such is worth keeping and cultivating that segment.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Toyota build quality is getting worse. More warranty issues than ever.

        People are also blindly buying Toyota products rather than taking the time to compare them with others on the market, just like Americans did with GM products for decades.

        Go figure!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford run down Mercury into the ground, it has been nothing but a trim level.

        Had Ford taken care of Mercury it would have made money and i am sure Ford would have loved it.

        Toyota did not get where it is by executing plans the same way Ford and GM (both are a step away from going bankrupt) Toyota is still profitable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't go down this road Toyota...I think it's bad enough they added the Scion brand.

      On the bright side, Scion dealers are really just Toyota dealers, so if Toyota follows the same pattern with a Prius brand at least they won't end up with tons of useless dealers (a la Oldsmobile or Hummer) someday. A separate section of the showroom wouldn't be too terrible, but personally I think it's a mistake.
      But then again I think Acura is a mistake too, since at this point I'd kinda rather buy an Accord EX-L than an Acura lol.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This would be a big mistake. For one, it would say, "Here's Prius, our lean, green, eco-friendly brand, and here is Toyota, our formerly green, not guzzling brand, and Scion, our Saturn brand."
        • 6 Years Ago
        That should be "now guzzling..." in the last sentence. I hate making typos on sites that don't let you edit your comments.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cool, maybe they can have other models that aren't the fugliest thing on the road.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Both ugliness and attractiveness are based on a memorable trait. There's nothing memorable about a Toyota at all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does anyone really even like "Prius" as a name?
        • 6 Years Ago
        It kinda sounds like a combination of the words "Prissy" and "pious".
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't. I don't mind the car as much as a lot of folks do, but they should have called it the Rhomboid or Rhombus or something.
      • 6 Years Ago
      At least someones adapting instead of rolling over helpless and asking for handouts.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyota is a full-line manufacturer like the Big Three and every bit as guilty in making gas-guzzling vehicles, yet the marketing vibe from the Prius has insulated them from the negativity surrounding those vehicles. Why would they want to mess with that formula?
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