Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. will use the Prius name on more hybrid models in its U.S. lineup, the automakers' top executives told dealers.
At a meeting of the 60 largest dealers in Las Vegas on Tuesday and Wednesday, Toyota executives said the name Prius would be attached to “a family of models” using similar hybrid powertrains, veteran Toyota dealer Earl Stewart says.
“The Highlander hybrid and Camry hybrid do OK, but calling it ‘Synergy Drive' never resonated with consumers,” Stewart says. “But they can make hay on the Prius name. It's a magic name. If somebody says ‘I drive a Prius,' everybody knows what he means.”
Toyota Motor Sales COO Jim Lentz has been pushing for a multi-platform Prius lineup for a year. But this was the first time it has been openly discussed in front of Toyota Motor Sales president Yoshi Inaba and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda.
Toyota will have a range of Prius hybrid models “but Prius won't be a separate sub-brand like Scion,” Stewart says.
Toyota executives in Frankfurt this week said the company planned to sell 500,000 to 600,000 hybrid vehicles globally by the end of 2009.
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