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It’s not exactly news that Toyota‘s reputation has been battered and bruised over the past year and a half, and now the Japanese automaker is looking to win back favor with American consumers. And what better venue to do that than the Chicago Auto Show, one of the best attended shows in the country and one that is billed as the biggest with 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space.
Planning to make a big splash, Toyota has announced it will have a ‘record-breaking’ 45,070 square-foot exhibit that will highlight everything from hybrid technology and safety to its efforts in NASCAR.
The focal point of the display will be Toyota’s “Prius Zone” with the new Prius family on display including the 3rd generation Prius, the new Prius Plug-In Hybrid, the Prius V wagon and the upcoming Prius c Concept. Other highlights will include Kyle Busch’s No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry race car, plus a NASCAR-powered Camry Coupe concept which first debuted at SEMA. Plus, Toyota’s Swagger Wagon Supreme will also be on hand. The Toyota/Tesla electric RAV4 will even be there.
In fact, Toyota will display 51 different vehicles at the show.
To help promote its focus on safety, Toyota will have a “Safety Zone” where customers can learn about the brand’s safety features, while a 50,000 square-foot Toyota Drive Center will let show-goers drive numerous Toyota trucks and SUVs in off-road conditions.
It’s time to put on your thinking caps, because Toyota wants you to do some serious thinking. In the automaker’s newest marketing campaign, they want you to tell them what the plural of Prius should be.
This campaign comes after the introduction of the new Prius V at the Detroit Auto Show, and the announcement of the Prius C Concept, that is set to take the Prius further down-market with improved fuel economy – not to mention great looks. When added to the current Prius and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, the family of hybrids is about to total four.
The commercial is fun to watch and puts us in mind of the retro “School House Rocks” educational shorts that would distract us from Saturday morning cartoons in the ’70s and ’80s. Toyota has a head-scratcher on their hands. Now that the Prius line has expanded, what do you call more than one of these cars? The grammatical implications of this debate could be huge, so Toyota wants you to weigh in on what it should be. Should it be Prii, Prium, Priuses, Prien, or is it just Prius?
Fulfilling a promise from a year ago Toyota has expanded the Prius badge into a brand, unveiling a family of vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Along with the third-gen Prius and Prius Plug-in Hybrid, is the Prius v (a mid-size hatchback/wagon) as well as the Prius c Concept, which takes badge down-market to a more affordable segment with even better fuel economy.
Set to go on sale this summer, the Prius v offers 60 percent more cargo room than the current Prius, but has roughly the same footprint. The ‘v’ says Toyota, stands for versatility.
As for the all-important fuel economy numbers, the Prius v will get 42-mpg city and 38-mpg highway for a combined total of 40-mpg. Power will come from the same Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system as in the current Prius model with 134-hp.
One notable update to the information screen on the dash is the use of added colors. While seemingly a trivial change, the Prius uses a monotone pea-green display that’s reminiscent of an ’80s computer monitor.
As for the Prius c, it is very much a mild evolution of the FT-CH concept that debuted at the Detroit show last year. No details have been given, but Bob Carter, Toyota VP and General Manager, commented that it will get even better fuel economy than the Prius and that it will head to production, going on sale in the first half of 2012.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius v Debut
GALLERY: Prius c Concept Debut
GALLERY: Toyota Prius Concept
GALLERY: Toyota Prius v
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