Prius is a Latin word which is roughly translates to "prior." Toyota picked the word for its hybrid car to indicate that it's a predecessor of cars to come. One thing the automaker should have done was register the Prius trademark worldwide. What happened instead was that an automotive company in India called Prius Auto Industries popped up and registered its own trademark six years before Toyota thought about it.
Not long ago, we wondered just how steep the hill of customer acceptance is for a new technology like the Volt is. The question was how well the Chevy Volt and the Voltec powertrain could compete with the established Prius brand? Toyota, for its part, apparently thinks it's worth spreading the Prius name around a bit onto other hybrid vehicles.