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Toyota will bring three new green models to market in 2012, including the second model in the Prius family. Toyota has confirmed it will expand the Prius name into its own brand, but it’s not yet clear if the second model in the range will be the much-rumored Prius Alfa MPV or if it will be a smaller model based on the FT-CH Concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.
In addition to this model, Toyota will also launch its Prius Plug-in Hybrid, as well as a fully electric model – thought to be based on the Toyota iQ mini car, currently sold in Europe, and about to be sold in North America as the new Scion iQ.
All three models are expected to launch with viral marketing campaigns making use of social media.
GALLERY: Toyota FT-CH Concept
[Source: Automotive News]
Funky entry-level hybrid inspired by Nintendo games
Toyota has announced that it will expand the Prius name to become an entire family of dedicated hybrid vehicles. Launched today at the Detroit Auto Show, the FT-CH Hybrid Concept is a look at what the next model in the Prius lineup is likely to be.
Inspired by 8-bit technology made famous by early Nintendo games like Contra and Mario Brothers, the car is funky with plenty of edges and even some square holes designed into the bodywork.
As for the car itself, it is 22-inches shorter than the current Prius, but has a wheelbase that is only 6-inches shorter, offering maximum interior room. Inside, there’s room for four. The name itself signifies the car’s designation, with the CH standing for Compact Hybrid. According to Toyota, “The FT-CH captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable.”
There’s no word from Toyota on what is under the hood, other than some sort of Hybrid Synergy Drive system, that gets better fuel mileage than the Prius – an impressive feat indeed when the current third-generation Prius nets 51/48 mpg (city/highway).
Toyota is expected to deliver this model to market, keeping much of its fresh and funky design.
“Other dedicated hybrid models are also on their way. “In the early 2010s, Toyota plans to sell a million hybrids per year globally, a majority of those in North America,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales president. “To accomplish this, Toyota will launch eight all new hybrid models over the next few years. These will not include next generation versions of current hybrids; instead, they will be all new dedicated hybrid vehicles, or all new hybrid versions of existing gas engine models.”
Lentz also commented that in the future hybrids will be the core powertrain technology for Toyota and that Toyota believes hybrid technology will become the staple throughout the auto industry.
GALLERY: Toyota FT-CH Hybrid Concept
GALLERY: Toyota FT-CH Hybrid Concept Official Photos
Official release after the jump: