Nice Family: The Prius Procreates

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
nice family the prius procreates

“Prius has become to hybrids what Kleenex is to tissues and Levis are to jeans.” So said Bob Carter, group VP and general manager of Toyota U.S.A. With so much brand power, it would be a waste to have only one Prius. From now on, Toyota has three. The Prius received a bigger and a smaller sibling, with the idea towards creating “a modern family with a Prius for everyone.”

The bigger is the Prius v (as in “versatile). It’s the wagon version of the Prius. They managed to keep the trademark wedge shape (Toyota likes to call it “triangle” instead), while adding more cargo space. Full details in the press release.

The smaller sibling is the Prius c (as in, you guessed it, “compact”). While the Prius v will be available this summer, the “c” in the Prius c can also stand for “concept.” No details available, but it’s a good guess if you expect the car in 2012.

Next year, you will also be able to buy the Prius plug-in (“Prius p”?) It gives you 12 miles of pure electric range, then the gasoline hybrid kicks in.

Looks like Toyota is building a sub-brand.

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4 of 68 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Jan 11, 2011

    Man, that wagon could be a hit if we get another serious oil price spike come summer. The compact should do well, too, if they can eke out another 15-20% combined mileage from it compared to the regular Prius. Or, if that's not possible, make it more of a pseudo "drivers car." Aerodynamics may nix it, but looking at the composition of cars at most ski resorts, and their often "environmentally conscious" owners; a version with a tad more ground and chain clearance, plus a "get me unstuck", lightweight on demand rear electric motor could perhaps be looked into as well.

  • Ajla Ajla on Jan 11, 2011

    Why not just go with Prius, Prius Calais, Pruis Custom Cruiser, and Prius Supreme? /Badly needs a new "Prius family" joke

  • Kristjan Ambroz Kristjan Ambroz on Jan 12, 2011

    I am sure Bertel will be able to shed more light on this but AFAIK Toyota has been successfully using subbrands in Japan for a very long time. Crown being one I can think of (there are several quite distinct versions, from the taxi, to a sporty one (Athlete IIRC), to an LS type competitor (Majesta)...), WiLL (not sure they still exist) another one. They even have different badging (as does the Century but that's hardly a vehicle family).

  • VanillaDude VanillaDude on Jan 12, 2011

    Toyota has a problem. Their clientel is old. They have seen this coming on for over a decade and they used Scion to address it, and now they are spinning off Prius. This year, the Boomers start retiring and these people are driving a whole lotta Toyotas. Toyota is smart enough to see this before it is too late, and are trying to avoid doing an Oldsmobile within the next generation. It used to be Buicks and Mercurys that I saw filled with the soon-to-be-departed drivers, and now I am seeing this demographic driving Camrys and Accords. Toyota sees it too. Good for them! While I would not drive a Prius because I would rather drive a car than a political statement, I wish Toyota much success in this venture. If they prove that this market has legs, then we all win.