While hybrid sales volumes may still be modest, Toyota Motor Co. appears to be convinced there’s enough demand to introduce an array of gasoline-electric models that would share the Prius badge with the Japanese maker’s most popular entry into the emerging field.
Toyota has steadily expanded its line-up of hybrid-electric vehicles, or HEVs, since launching the first version of the Prius, a decade ago. It eventually promises to offer the high-mileage technology in virtually every product in its line-up. But as TheDetroitBureau.com first reported, last month, senior American officials have been seeking to broaden the use of the Prius name, essentially creating a hybrid-based brand-within-a-brand.
Based on a meeting, in Las Vegas, between senior Toyota Motor Sales USA executives and American Toyota dealers, earlier this week, it appears that the American argument is carrying sway, not surprising since the maker’s new CEO Akio Toyoda believes the U.S. market is critical to Toyota’s long-term success.