Toyota debuts two new Prius models at Detroit Auto Show

James Raia

The Toyota Prius outsells all other hybrid cars combined. But Toyota knows its competitors have plenty to offer, which is why the carmaker debuted two new hybrid models at the Detroit auto show.

The roomier Prius v and compact Prius c concept were introduced to complement the Prius and stable of 14 Toyota hybrid vehicles available globally.

Toyota is also planning 11 more hybrid or other “green” vehicles during the next two years. Last year, sales of the Toyota Prius, first available in the U.S. in 1997, increased 36 percent last year to 140,928 units.

“Prius has become to hybrids what Kleenex is to tissues and Levi’s are to jeans,” Bob Carter, Toyota brand’s U.S. chief, said at the media debut of Toyota’s new hybrid offerings.

The five-seater Prius v, with an estimated 40 mpg combined for city and highway driving, will be available this summer “targeting families looking for more cargo space and utility,” according to Carter.

The Toyota Prius c concept was described by Carter as “a city-friendly car aimed at young singles and couples who want a high mileage and fun-to-drive Prius with a roomy interior.”Toyota debuts two new Prius models at Detroit Auto Show 1

“It will be the most value-oriented hybrid, with the highest mileage of any ‘plugless’ hybrid available in the U.S.,” said Carter, who added it will exceed the conventional Prius’ combined 50 mpg.

A production model based on the Prius c concept will go on sale in the United States in the second half of 2012.

Toyota is also planning to launch two pure electric cars next year in the United States, according to Reuters.com report. an electric RAV4 crossover developed with U.S. start-up Tesla Motors and a tiny urban commuter model based on its own technology.

Article Last Updated: January 11, 2011.

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