Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘prius family’

Toyota “Did Receive Damage,” Says CEO Akio Toyoda

by on Jan.11, 2011

Akio Toyoda with his onizuri.

It hasn’t been an easy year for Toyota Motor Co., but the maker’s CEO and founding family heir Akio Toyota says he’s confident the worst is over and the rebuilding process begun.

During his first visit to the annual Detroit Auto Show, Toyoda made an onstage appearance helping introduce a new line-up of hybrids that will share the popular Prius brand name.  The executive then met with a small group of reporters to discuss the company’s problems and plans, notably including efforts to rebuild its once-sterling image – which has been tattered by a series of safety-related recalls.

Your Source for Detroit Auto Show News!

“Toyota did receive damage,” Toyota bluntly acknowledged, though he was equally quick to insist that despite ongoing concerns – and a series of lawsuits – the company’s products “are safe.”

“The past year was extra trying,” he said through a translator, though he also insisted that the company did better than might have been expected on a sales front.


Toyota To Reveal New Prius-Badged Hybrid At Detroit Auto Show

Maker plans an array of battery vehicles and even a hydrogen car – but still is betting big on hybrids.

by on Oct.14, 2010

The Prius FT-HC concept could soon morph into a production vehicle, Toyota planning to use the Prius badge on a "family" of hybrids.

Toyota will introduce an all-new hybrid-electric vehicle that will share the Prius badge with the maker’s existing 4-door hybrid, the first step in a strategy to turn the Prius name into a green-tinged brand-within-a-brand.

“It will be an all-new model,” said Don Esmond, the senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales USA, during an appearance before the Automotive Press Association.  And it will make its first appearance at the Detroit Auto Show, in January 2011.

While he hinted it will be “more stylish” and “more versatile,” Esmond shied away from offering any other hard details other than to say it will be part of a growing “family” that will share the Prius name with the original hybrid.  That Toyota model remains not only the most popular of Toyota’s gas-electric models but accounts for roughly half of all hybrids sold in the United States.

Esmond did suggest there are at least two key niches that Toyota would like to expand the new Prius family into.  The first would be a larger model, probably a crossover.  The other would be an even smaller and less expensive hybrid offering, which could mean something in the $15,000 range.

News Now!

The timing of the concept reveal would suggest the new Prius-badged hybrid could make it to market as early as the 2012 model-year.

Expanding the use of the Prius badge is potentially risky, especially if a new model falls short of expectations, but because it has an extremely high consumer awareness factor the approach also offers a potential kick-start for any new model.


Q&A: Jim Lentz, Toyota’s Top “Gaijin”

A "family" of Prius products; and "passionate" minivans?

by on Aug.05, 2009

Can a "family" of Prius hybrids and "more passionate" design and performance reverse Toyota's recent problems?  Top American executive Jim Lentz is betting on it.

Can a "family" of Prius hybrids, plus "more passionate" designs, reverse Toyota's recent problems? Jim Lentz is betting on it.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.  Going into the New Year, it was starting to look like nothing could go wrong for Toyota, not after it nudged aside General Motors to become the world’s best-selling automaker.  But things turned south in a hurry as a result of the calamitous collapse in the American auto market.

With its U.S. subsidiary posting hefty, double-digit declines, the Japanese parent suddenly plunged deep in the red.  That’s prompted big management changes, right up to the chairman’s office, where Akio Toyoda, heir to the company’s founding family, has become the new Toyota Motor Company CEO.  If anything, however, President Toyoda is planning to put more power into the hands of the company’s American management team, including Chief Operating Officer Jim Lentz.

Informative, insightful.

Informative, insightful.

The boyish-looking Lentz has worked his way up through the organization, and left his touch on Toyota Motor Sales, USA, in many ways.  Yet, he plans even bigger moves going forward, as he explains in this Q&A.