Mini Prius Not For Europe… So Who Is It For?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
mini prius not for europe so who is it for

Though not technically a new debut at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, the “Prius C” concept was probably the most interesting vehicle Toyota showed at Cobo Hall this year. If nothing else, it certainly shows the promise of an expanded Prius brand far better than the “Prius V.” And if there’s a single market where this “baby Prius” can give Toyota’s eco-brand spin-off a boost it would be Europe, where small, efficient cars rule. But, it seems, this is not to be. Autocar reports

The strength of the Japanese yen seems almost certain to keep a production version of Toyota’s near-80mpg hybrid supermini based on the Prius C Concept hatch out of Europe.

The Auris hybrid and forthcoming Yaris hybrid (with which the C Concept, revealed at the recent Detroit motor show, shares a platform) are built in the UK and France respectively, which gives them much stronger profit margins than a small Prius model sourced from Japan.

But isn’t spinning off a brand supposed to be about long-term marketing rather than short-term profits? Isn’t Toyota giving up on ever making its Prius brand a player in Europe by cannibalizing it with a Yaris Hybrid? And if so, why spin off the Prius brand at all? Against the backdrop of Hyundai/Kia’s recent passing of Toyota to become the top Asian automaker in Europe, this move seems all the more short-sighted and reactive. Especially considering that

despite the supermini being unlikely to reach Europe in production form, the concept has been conceived with European-flavoured driving characteristics. “European drivers demand a high level of agility and feedback in their driving, so our planning is taking that into account,” said chief designer Elvio d’Aprile.

It’s ironic: Toyota built itself into one of the most trusted brands in the world through sheer focus… and now it’s headed for an oh-for-two record on its brand spin-offs.

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  • Forraymond Forraymond on Jan 21, 2011

    A convertible version of this car would hot.

  • Forraymond Forraymond on Jan 21, 2011

    How long til we run out of places in the world that offers cheap labor (and no ecological standards and no worker safety rules)?

    • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Jan 22, 2011

      Decades. There's Africa yet - although the Chinese are trying to buy most of it.

  • FreedMike I don't know why this dash shocks anyone - the whole "touchscreen uber alles" thing is pure Tesla.
  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.