AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
When it was first introduced 15 years ago, even many at Toyota had little faith in the pug nosed Prius. But now the automaker can unequivocally state that it’s no longer a niche product, with sales numbers for the first quarter of 2012 ranking the gasoline-electric hybrid as the world’s third best selling car.
Toyota is the brand to beat when it comes to hybrid vehicles, and the recently launched Prius c subcompact helps reinforce that trend.
According to Toyota, the Prius c, which launched on March 12, has sold 1,201 in its first three days on the market, making it one of the company’s fastest selling vehicles.
In just three days, the Prius c outsold the February sales of the Volt, and Leaf, which sold 1,023, and 478 respectively.
The fact that gas prices in the US could hit $4.00 a gallon as early as memorial day certainly make the Prius c a shining beacon of hope for drivers who hope to save some money at the pump with the 53 mpg fuel economy rating. The under $19,000 price tag doesn’t hurt either.
As a whole, the Prius family of vehicles (the Prius, Prius c and Prius v) sold almost 10,000 units during the first half of March.
You can check out our review of the Prius c right here
Toyota worked hard to bring the Prius nameplate from obscurity to common parlance, whether its loved by save-the-planet tree huggers or hated by gas-wasting macho men, few can feign ignorance to the world’s most iconic hybrid.
“With the four cars, you’re seeing the entire Prius family short-term. For the long term, we continue to evaluate it. I certainly have things that I’d love to see evolve,” Toyota divisions group vice president and general manager, Bob Carter said.
With the advent of the Prius V and Prius C, it’s clear that Toyota wants to expand the Prius offerings for broader appeal. Toyota even teased the idea of a Prius light truck.
“So, no, you’re not going to see us put a hybrid in a truck if it doesn’t meet that. I would never support anything with a Prius badge that is sub-40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km). We’re not going to put a hybrid in the Tundra (fullsize-pickup truck) and call it the Prius Tundra,” said Carter.
Toyota is expecting 220,000 Prius deliveries this year in the U.S., with the V and C projected to make up 15-20 percent of that number. Toyota has a major goal set for themselves of having every model in the U.S. lineup sporting a hybrid variant by 2020, and with this in mind, the Prius family looks like it’s set to keep growing.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Read AutoGuide’s Toyota Prius c Review here or watch below for our video review:
We’ve seen plenty of the i3 and i8 concepts from BMW, and now reports are coming in that BMW is developing an i5 to fill the gap between the two upcoming models. Autobild is reporting that the i5 will be a midsized MPV and looks to target the Toyota Prius V market, but we’re thinking its price tag will put it in a league of its own.
Essentially, the i5 will be a larger i3 with sliding rear seats, a large cargo area and a high roof. It will also probably be a sedan sporting coupe styling and will feature an electric motor just like the i3 concept. The electric motor that BMW has been teasing in the i3 concept has 167-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. There is also the possibility of another variant with a standard gasoline, three-cylinder engine with around 89-hp.
No pricing has been announced, but it’s safe to assume the BMW i5 will be at least $65,000 or thereabouts.
Earlier this month a new reports noted that Chevrolet Volt sales were more successful in its first year than the sales numbers of the Toyota Prius hybrid on its first year back in 2000. What little optimism Chevrolet might have had on the Volt’s sales performance were quickly silenced when data revealed that Toyota dealt a quick knockout as its new Prius v wagon (also in its first year) out sold the Volt. And it did so with just 10 weeks on sale.
Official numbers for Chevrolet Volt’s 2011 sales are 7,671 units delivered. Toyota managed to sell 8,399 hybrid wagons, which did not arrive to U.S. dealerships and showrooms until the last week of October.
President of Toyota U.S. Sales Jim Lentz says, “Prius v is off to a great start.” For 2012, Toyota aims to deliver 220,000 Prii to U.S. customers, a 60 percent increase from 2011. Toyota’s offensive includes offerings of the original Prius, the Pruis v wagon, and the Prius c subcompact that arrives in March.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius v wagon
Read AutoGuide’s 2012 Toyota Prius v Review here and watch the video review below:
It’s sales are but a drop in the bucket for Honda, but the Civic GX, recently renamed the NG, might have a chance to grow its market share thanks to efforts by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to expand U.S. infrastructure for natural gas vehicles.
The fact is, there is so much natural gas available in the U.S. that it’s actually being sold off as an export. Part of the reason is because currently Americans account for 112,000 or less than 1 percent of the world total of natural gas burning vehicles. Most of those are 18-wheel big rigs or fleet vehicles, but the Civic GX accounts for 13,000 since appearing on the American market 13 years ago.
It isn’t hard to understand why there are so few sold: of the roughly 180,000 gas stations across the U.S., there are roughly 1000 that offer natural gas. That means no road trips, no fooling around with the refuel light and little forgiveness if you happen to run the tank dry.
Despite all that, the compressed natural gas (CNG) Civic won the 2012 Green Car of the Year Award, beating out a host of cars including the Mitsubishi i, Ford Focus Electric and Prius V. It also snagged a guaranteed spot until 2015 in California’s coveted HOV lane sticker club, meaning owners may drive solo and skip through ridiculous Californian highway congestion – something that’s sure to make it a popular choice in SoCal.
The Honda won these accolades despite having comparatively poor milage with 27-mpg city, 38-mpg highway and a 31-mpg average, probably because it costs about 30 percent less to fuel them according to Honda. Natural gas costs about $1 to $2 less per gallon-equivalent.
Truthfully, the Civic has nothing to do with Clean Energy Fuels Corp.’s plans for expansion. They’re more more motivated by the crazy fuel volume transport vehicles consumer every year. Rich Kolodziej, president of the trade association NGV America, broke the numbers down in an interview with the Detroit News. If a driver gets an average of 25 mpg and drives 12,000 miles a year, that driver needs about 480 gallons per year. An average truck driver can travel 120,000 miles in a year getting only six miles-per-gallon needs 20,000 gallons of fuel, or as much as almost 42 normal drivers.
Given that there is a surplus of natural gas in the U.S. and that it’s significantly cheaper, installing that infrastructure makes sense. The special few who drive the Civic GX or NG will likely enjoy the benefit of having access to many more fueling stations.
[Source: Detroit News]
Toyota is looking to ride their successful Prius wave to the future, hoping to revive its US sales that has taken a hit thanks to heavy recalls and the tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. With two new Prius models on the horizon, Toyota also announced they’ll be entering new market segments with hybrids, including big pickups.
Reports are coming in that Toyota could double the number of hybrids sold in North America to 400,000 by 2015 and could help shift hybrid production to America, helping fight against the rising yen. More interesting is that Toyota expects to finish a prototype hybrid pickup system sometime next year that they’re currently working on with Ford.
Toyota also expects the Prius hybrid family to surpass the Camry in the second half of this decade as Toyota’s top-selling nameplate. Ultimately however, their goal is to hit 1.2-million units in annual hybrid sales by 2015, almost double from the 690,000 last year. They’ll also be looking towards expanding their current models to offer hybrid variants while continuing to shift from nickel-metal hydride to lithium ion batteries in their hybrids.
[Source: Automotive News]
With the unveiling of the production version of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Frankfurt, Toyota still believes the mainstream adoption of hybrid vehicles is still in its early stages. Speaking to Automotive News, Toyota engineering VP Takeshi Uchiyamada commented that the Japanese auto giant expects hybrid sales to account for 20 percent of all vehicles sold in developed countries by 2020.
In Japan, hybrid sales (which are promoted with heavy incentives by the government) already account for 20 percent of all vehicles sold and hybrid models like the Prius are often the best selling cars. Currently hybrid sales in the rest of the developed world are at around 10 percent, with the Prius making up a hefty portion of that. In fact, over the past decade, Toyota hybrids have made up as much as 80 percent of all hybrid sales in North America in certain years, with the Prius alone accounting for almost one of every two hybrids sold.
Toyota is continuing a hybrid model push, with the Prius PHEV going on sale next year. Recently Toyota unveiled the Prius v wagon for North America, and at Frankfurt debuted a larger version of that car, the Prius+ with a lithium ion battery pack. Toyota will continue the push beyond this, with a Prius c sub-compact due out soon and sales of the new Camry Hybrid expected to double to 50,000 units in North America this year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Toyota is promising a lot with its new Prius c. The upcoming baby Prius is set to up the driving enjoyment factor, while offering even better fuel economy than the standard Prius, while coming in at a price under the current model. And based on the concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, it’s also going to look great! Not so fast…
According to Motor Trend‘s sources the funky concept, “has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming production version Prius c.” If true, that would be a real shame.
Instead, the car will be more like the Prius v, with a focus on functionality, but also on driving dynamics. It should measure about 6-inches longer than the current Yaris, with a wheelbase about 3-inches longer than that car. The platform will actually be shared with the Toyota Rush, allowing the Prius c to be offered with all-wheel drive.
The engine is slated to be a new Hybrid Synergy Drive unit using a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder mated to an electric motor and using a lithium-ion battery pack.
Look for the Prius c to arrive in early 2012.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius c
Discuss this story at PriusForum.com
After first introducing the Prius v at the Detroit Auto Show in January, Toyota has now released complete specifications on the new hybrid wagon with one important change; the car’s fuel economy. Back at Detroit, execs said they expected the car to achieve a 42/38-mpg (city/highway) fuel economy rating with a combined 40-mpg number. Toyota has since upped that for the production model by 2-mpg across the board, meaning it is now rated at 44/40-mpg for an average fuel economy rating of 42-mpg.
Apart from cars like the fully-electric Nissan Leaf or the Chevy Volt, the Prius v ranks just behind the new 2012 Civic Hybrid (44-mpg combined) and the original Prius (50-mpg combined) and is tied with the Lexus CT200h.
Pricing has yet to be released but Toyota has said the Prius v will retail for a few thousand above the normal Prius liftback model, which starts at $24,520. Despite reports that is has been delayed, the Prius v will hit dealers this Fall.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Prius v
Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Toyota Prius v Review and hit the jump to watch our video review:
Reports of the Toyota Prius V’s delay have been greatly exaggerated. According to the company, the Prius V is on track for a U.S. fall debut, after all.
The Prius V had been previously reported to be delayed across all markets, due to the Japanese earthquake. But a brief note from Toyota USA’s Torrance, California headquarters stated that American deliveries of the hybrid minivan/wagon will start in the fall, as previously planned.
The Prius V promises 60 percent more cargo room than the current Prius and aims to deliver 42-mpg city and 38-mpg highway for a combined total of 40-mpg using the same hybrid synergy drive as found in the current Prius.
In Japan, however, the Prius alpha (as it’s known over there) will still be delayed, due to the earthquake.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius V
Remember a few weeks back when we asked you what the plural of Prius would be? Well, you let Toyota know what you thought sounded best, and they have decided to go with ‘Prii’ as the preferred plural term.
The campaign, which started on January 10, finally came to a close after more than 1.8 million votes were cast. In the running, along with Prii, were Prius, Priuses, Prium and Prien. Prii won with 25 percent of the votes (Prius came in at a close second with 24 percent of the votes), and is not only the official term recognized by Toyota, it also gets its props from Dictionary.com – just type it in on the site and the definition will pop up.
For about 10 years, the plural of Prius has had executives at Toyota scratching their heads, and with the addition of Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (PHV), Prius v and Prius c concept, they decided to finally put the question to the public. You can watch a video recap of the campaign and winning word celebration can at www.ToyotaPriusProjects.com.
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
Get the Flash Player to see this player.