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Toyota Prius Family To Get a Little Bigger By 2013

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On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 3:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Prius Family To Get a Little Bigger By 2013

Despite being the best-selling hybrid around, the Toyota Prius isn't quite for everyone. Some may need or want more interior space to fit their families and all their haulage, and some may feel the Prius isn't small and efficient enough. Both those segments will be getting the Prius they yearn for in just a few short years.

According to a Wall Street Journal report based on discussions with two dealers that were briefed at a company dealer conference last week, Toyota will be introducing both a smaller and a larger Prius to market by the end of 2012. The larger model will give drivers 50 percent more interior space while the smaller model will be comparable in size to the Yaris.

Toyota is already the world leader in hybrid sales, and the two new Prius models will be among six new hybrids that Toyota plans to introduce over the next two years. Since its introduction in 1997, the Prius has sold to the tune of two million, and Toyota plans to drive hybrid sales to the point of a million per year with its expanding family. It hopes to offer a hybrid version of every one of its vehicles by the 2020s.

Another model that's expected by the end of 2012 is the Prius Plug-In. It features the same engine/motor combination as the standard Prius: 98-hp 1.8-liter engine with an 80-hp electric motor, but uses a lithium-ion battery instead of a nickel-metal-hydride battery. The plug-in can travel for up to 13 miles under electric-only driving and can recharge in three hours.

In a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Toyota was declared the second-greenest automaker (tied with Hyundai), trailing very closely behind Honda. The company was expected to surpass Honda for the first time this year, but fell just short. In looking at how Toyota could beat Honda in the future, Jim Kliesch, the report's author said: "Toyota also will need to make fleetwide improvements to stay in contention. Without its successful Prius hybrid, the company would have placed fourth this year instead of second."

A bigger Prius family seems like just the ticket for Toyota to take top billing on the report.


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