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 |  Jan 16 2012, 12:45 PM

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To say there’s a strong tuner car culture for hybrids in Japan might be a bit too generous. Oh, there’s no doubt the Japanese love to modify the cars, but perhaps the term “customization” is more accurate.

At this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon there was the usual selection of Prius model with wild bodykits and big wheels. And while most take a step towards the extreme, the Lumiere Prius Hybrid Interceptor police car still looks pretty mean. At the opposite end of the we’d-drive-it spectrum is the DAD Prius v, complete with oversized wheels blinged out with Swarovski crystals.

Along with conventional Prius models, the aftermarket has expanded to include the new additions to the Prius family, like the Prius v wagon and even the smaller Prius c.

See all the cars below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jun 30 2011, 12:27 PM

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Proof that the Prius isn’t just for greenie eco-nuts, Toyota has just released a new Prius Plus Performance package for the world’s most popular hybrid. Just don’t look for added performance under the hood – even if the parts are made by Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

In many ways an aesthetic package, the list of upgrades does offer what promises to be a superior handling machine. Included in the package is a lowering spring kit that drops the front of the car by 1.1 inches and the rear by 1.3 inches, delivering,  “quicker turn-in, enhanced steering response and improved cornering ability.” A rear sway bar also helps cut down on body lean in the corners.

Also included are a set of 17-inch forged alloy wheels with wider and lower profile 215/45/17 tires, with a custom offset (sorry, no Hellaflush here) to give the car a wider track.

Other upgrades include a seven-piece bodykit that maintains the car’s drag coefficient, while inside there are custom floor mats.

Available in limited quantity the Prius Plus Performance package can be added on to any Prius Two, Three or Four model for an additional $3,699; or to any Prius Five model for $2,999.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius Plus Performance Package

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 9:12 AM

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Hybrids are increasingly becoming the car of choice in Japan and as a result the country that’s responsible for popularizing electrified motoring is also the Mecca for hybrid tuning.

Yes, some performance shops are working on adding more power to hybrid systems, but as with the rest of the auto industry, the majority of tuning is dedicated areas outside the engine bay. And with the Prius being the best selling car in Japan, it’s the one that gets the most attention.

Built by Toyota‘s motorsports partner Gazoo Racing, the Prius G Sports Concept is a look at a future sports package that the company is considering. Debuting at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the modifications are minimal and look to consist of a set of 18-inch wheels to improve handling and an aero kit.

Toyota won’t say for sure, but look for this kit or perhaps a full production model based on this car to launch in Japan in the coming months.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius G Sports Concept

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 |  Nov 02 2010, 1:15 PM

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It may look a little a lot over the top, but beneath all that wild bodywork the C&A Custom Concept Toyota Prius is actually pretty cool. That may be hard to believe, but what if we told you almost the entire body of the car (excluding the doors) was crafted of light weight carbon fiber. The benefits are twofold, reducing the car’s weight significantly for improved acceleration (and braking, and handling), while also helping improve fuel economy further.

While the custom bodywork with extra-custom additions like a “translucent rear side spoiler, styled exhaust tip and front and rear lighted Toyota badging” might get the most attention, we should point out the attention paid towards making this car handle. To do so, it features 18-inch forged aluminum wheels with aluminum aero rings, while a TIEN suspension drops the car 4-inches up front and 6-inches in the rear.

Interior modifications include a black Alcantara headliner, A and B pillars, door trim and rear seat, while the steering wheel and shift knob are also coated in the grippy fabric. Several high-tech displays measure everything from electric output to a G meter.

As far-out as this concept is, we have to think carbon fiber will increasingly play a role in high-mileage vehicles like the Prius in the future.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius C&A Custom Concept

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GALLERY: Toyota Prius C&A Custom Concept at SEMA

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 09 2010, 11:14 PM

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The world of tuning hybrids has really evolved in a short period of time. The good looks of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius have really captured the Japanese aftermarket. We saw it first hand at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, where the overwhelming amount of customized hybrids caught us by surprise.

Wald International has built a reputation over the years as one of Japan’s premiere manufacturers of high quality styling kits. Mostly geared towards luxury sedans and the entire VIP movement, Wald has now taken a different approach by teasing an upcoming kit for the Toyota Prius. Yep, even Wald is getting their hands dirty with the hybrids.

We’ve only been treated with a single photo of the kit, but we’re already digging it. Instead of changing the entire look of the car and messing with the Prius’ drag coefficient bod, Wald took a conservative approach, adding flair to the front bumper while maintaining a majority of the stock look. We particularly like the side skirts which are a perfect fit to the Prius’ body. We’re curious to see how the rear of the project is shaping up; we’ll be sure to report when we get a full release and pricing on the package.

 |  Nov 04 2009, 6:03 PM

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Thanks to tuner Five Axis, the Toyota Prius has never looked this cool. Now in its third generation, the 2010 Prius has gotten considerably better looking over the years, but the two modified versions on display this week at the 2009 SEMA Show take green motoring to a stylish new level.

Five Axis has built numerous Scion and Lexus SEMA vehicles for Toyota Motor Corp. over the years, but for 2009 the designers were called upon to get creative with Toyota’s flagship hybrid. The first of the two cars is called the Prius Aerius (Latin for “belonging to the air”), while the second is called the Prius Aemulus (meaning “envious imitation”). The Aerius is a pure show car, while the Aemulus is a street legal replica with slightly less exciting modifications. It will, however, be given to the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and auctioned off for charity.

Both cars get a Five Axis aero kit that has been made using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, to not only ensure it looks cool, but also to maintain the Prius’s amazing 0.25 drag coefficient.

The show car gets Five Axis FIVE:AD S6:F 19-inch wheels with clear covers to reduce drag, along with a set of Yokohama Super E-Spec low rolling resistance tires. The actual street car will get slightly less “bling” with factory rollers.

Outside, both cars get a truly amazing custom paint job that resembles the color of the sky, while the rear and side glass has been coated in 3M’s Crystalline Automotive Window Film to block 99.9 percent of UV rays.

Inside the Prius Aerius show car has its seat fabric replaced with 100 percent consumer recycled polyester, while the seatbacks are made of Polyurethane produced by Ultrafabrics that produces almost zero pollutants in the production process. The factory seats weren’t just tossed out either, but recycled to make business cards and cosmetics cases.

GALLERY: Five Axis Toyota Prius Aerius

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SEMA 2009: Toyota to Display Two Modified Priuses by Five Axis

Both hybrids to get plenty of green technology modifications

 |  Nov 03 2009, 11:46 AM

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For the SEMA Show, Toyota often calls on the Five Axis tuner shop to create wild and wacky Scions or Lexuses, but for the first time the custom fabricators have been called upon to modify a Prius. Actually, Five Axis has built two versions of the 2010 Prius, the first called the Prius Aerius (Latin for “belonging to the air”), is a SEMA Show car, while the second, called the Prius Aemulus (meaning “envious imitation”), is a street legal replica. The second car will be given to the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and auctioned off for charity.

Both cars get a Five Axis aero kit that has been made using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, to not only ensure it looks cool, but also to maintain the Prius’s amazing 0.25 drag coefficient.

The show car gets Five Axis FIVE:AD S6:F 19-inch wheels with clear covers to reduce drag, along with a set of Yokohama Super E-Spec low rolling resistance tires. The actual street car will get slightly less “bling” with factory rollers.

Outside, both cars get a custom paint job that resembles the color of the sky, while the rear and side glass has been coated in 3M’s Crystalline Automotive Window Film to block 99.9 percent of UV rays.

Inside the Prius Aerius show car has its seat fabric replaced with 100 percent consumer recycled polyester, while the seatbacks are made of Polyurethane produced by Ultrafabrics that produces almost zero pollutants in the production process. The factory seats weren’t just tossed out either, but recycled to make business cards and cosmetics cases.

For more photos of both cars check out AutoGuide’s live SEMA Show coverage here:

Official:

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 28 2009, 12:07 PM

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As the shift to environmentally-friendly vehicles continues, the aftermarket has begun to recognize this emerging market and begin catering to owners. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Toyota Prius’s home turf, Japan.

On his blog, Japanese tuning industry insider Ben Shaffer (owner of parts importer and tuning houses Bulletproof Automotive and Bespoke Ventures) is increasing awareness of this trend, while also lamenting it. Several well-known Japanese tuners have already taken to modifying both the Prius and Honda’s Insight, with both ASI and Tommy Kaira having recently released tuning packages for the former.

While a strong believer in environmentally responsible transportation, and in making those sorts of cars look cooler or even perform better, Shaffer indicates that according to his sources this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon will be half hybrids – with modified Nissan GT-Rs making up the rest of the show.

“I understand Eco is the future for the masses, but can we keep our sports cars too,” says Shaffer. “I thought the point was to have a sports car for the weekends and a Prius to daily drive. Lets keep it that way, keep the R&D coming on sports car tuning parts too please!”

Either way, it looks like hybrid tuning is here to stay and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on some of the new modification options from the Tokyo Auto Salon.

GALLERY: Tommy Kaira and ASI Tuned Priuses

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[Source: BespokeVentures]