The success that Honda has had with its new Insight has surely caught the attention of Toyota, its chief rival in the hybrid vehicle games. In its home market of Japan, Honda sold 18,000 Insight hybrids in its first month on sale. This figure beat the automaker's predictions, and a good deal of these early adopters likely chose the Insight over the Prius due to its low price, which undercuts its competitor by a few thousand dollars (or a few million yen, depending on your location).
To properly combat the Insight, rumors are swirling that Toyota is hard at work developing a new low-cost hybrid vehicle that would be priced well under that of the standard Prius. The new model would use similar hybrid technology but would cost 20-30 percent less than its big brother. True or not, Toyota has confirmed that they will continue to sell the previous-generation Prius in Japan for at least the 2010 model year at a price point that should be close to that of the Insight. Toyota told AutoblogGreen that American buyers will not be able to chose a new older Prius once the new model goes on sale.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]