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Toyota will up the sporty style on next Prius

October 5th, 2008
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The next-generation Toyota Prius will retain the petrol hybrid concept – but as well as being cleaner than the current model, it’ll be a lot more sporty, says Toyota GM managing director Miguel Fonseca.

Prius has undoubtedly been a massive success for Toyota – but it’s paid a price for that popularity in terms of a rather fuddy-duddy image. But that will change when the next-generation car is unveiled next year.

“It will be cleaner, with CO2 emissions below 100g/km,” Fonseca says. “We could have gone lower, but instead we have chosen to give the Prius better performance.”

Despite rival manufacturers’ moves toward diesel hybrids, Toyota believes the high price of diesel compared to petrol means it makes no sense to switch the fossil fuel. Of course, Prius’ two top markets are America and Japan – and diesel infrastructure is poorly developed in both.

Toyota’s big launch at Paris was the new Avensis – which looks a much more competitive car against sector benchmarks such as the Ford Mondeo, Citoren C5 and the new Vauxhall Insignia. But the big message from Toyota was the environment – and Toyota Motor Europe chief operating officer Thierry Dombreval stressed the car’s low CO2 footprint, starting at 134g/km.

“We have set ourselves a full-year sales goal of 115,000 cars, believing this is the most appropriate target for the current market conditions,” he says Both four-door saloon and five-door estate versions were unveiled at Paris, along with the finished production version of the iQ city car, part of Toyota’s plan to launch 18 new models by the end of 2009.

TME President Tadashi Arashima says: “This unprecedented product offensive enables us to revamp our entire engine and transmission line-up by2010.” He says the focus on fuel economy was the right approach. “Our new line-up is the most appropriate response to the challenges we face today.”

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