Toyota already offers a hybrid midsize model, the Camry hybrid. Additionally, they have hybrid versions of other popular model lines, such as the Highlander and various Lexus models. However, the Prius remains the single hybrid-only model in their U.S. lineup. This may be about the change.
The Asahi Shimbun reports that Toyota plans to introduce a new hybrid-only midsize model in 2009. The model will include the third generation of Toyota's hybrid gas-electric technology. This newest version should allow them to cut the costs and size of their system, and reduce costs further by spreading the R&D costs across more vehicles.
Toyota claims that one of the reasons that the Prius is their most popular hybrid model in the U.S. is because Americans want to be seen while being green. A hybrid-only model achieves that image. Additionally, the model will sport a larger gas engine of 2.5-3 liters, in part because Americans prefer vehicles with larger engines. They have already set a goal of 1 million gas-electric hybrid sales by 2010, this model should help them reach that goal.Related:
- Toyota introduces the FT-HS hybrid sports car concept. See it in Detroit!
- Next-Gen Prius to get lithium ion battery and 113 mpg