The Detroit auto show is the main stage for Toyota’s rebirth after a rather compromising period. The Japanese company has big plans for the next couple of years: introducing seven new hybrid cars, updating four existing versions and a fully electric vehicle. Also, a hydrogen fuel cell powered car is expected by 2015.
Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid, sold in close to 1 million copies since its release in 2000, is the foundation for this new generation of cars. One of these versions is the Prius v Wagon which has a plug-in model expected at the beginning of 2012. GM’s Chevy Volt, direct competitor, tops Prius’s 13 miles electric power range significantly, with a range of 40 miles.
However, according to Bob Carter, general manager and Toyota Division Group vice-president, the Prius offers a faster recharge, less weight which means better economy when in hybrid mode, and a lower price.
These are all good news, considering recent economic trends. “I’ve got to tell you, with gas prices heading toward four dollars a gallon and Prius sales rising I’m really glad this new family is coming,” said Carter. Indeed, since May 2009, Toyota is the top seller in Japan and the number one 2010 retail brand in the U.S.
“These achievements during a difficult year were made possible through the outstanding efforts of Toyota associates, dealers and suppliers, and the support of loyal customers all across America,” said Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation and grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda.
What else are we to expect from Toyota? Well, certainly the much anticipated electric vehicle which TMC is working on alongside with Tesla, partner in this project. As a reminder, Tesla has just recently introduced a wireless-charged electric vehicle, so the outcome of this partnership is attention-worthy, to say the least.