Reported today from Tokyo, Japan Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a new small hybrid car to be in the same class as the new Honda Insight. Chief engineer of the redesigned 3rd generation Toyota Prius, Akihoko Otsuka said, “We are developing a low-priced hybrid vehicle like Honda’s Insight.” The small gasoline-electric car being planned will be a low-priced spinoff of the current Toyota Yaris. In addition Otsuka said, “We are going to compete by expanding our hybrid-vehicle lineup to smaller hybrids, in the class of the Vitz [sold in Japan] and Yaris.”
This may be an answer by Toyota to compete with the new Honda Insight as it’s sales are doing well in Japan as it will be followed by a hybrid version of the Honda Fit.
Why not factor in two energy saving benefits of not only developing a new hybrid car but a smaller one. That’s two major factors working in Toyota and Hondas advantage in these new endeavors of creating green machines.
The opportunity is in Toyotas face to “easily” produce a cheaper alternative to the current Toyota Prius hybrid.
Excerpt from AutoNews:
Otsuka said the top priority in developing the new Prius was to boost fuel efficiency, not reduce the price. Through countless overhauls, he achieved a preliminary EPA fuel economy rating to 51 mpg city/48 highway, up from 48/45 mpg for the 2009 Prius.
Foremost among the improvements is better aerodynamics. The new Prius has a drag coefficient of 0.25, the slickest in Toyota’s lineup. That compares with 0.26 for the current Prius. That difference alone delivers a 1 percent increase in overall mileage, Otsuka said.