Toyota Australia this morning confirmed the versatile family-sized Prius v hatch would join the familiar Prius hatchback and the compact Prius c Concept hatch on the stand in Melbourne.
Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said the local brand would listen closely to the public’s reaction to the Prius v at the Motor Show in Melbourne.
“Prius v is a family-oriented five-seater designed to meet the needs of growing families with active lifestyles," Mr Buttner said."The ‘v’ stands for versatility, which is reflected in the car's compact exterior and more spacious interior."Its versatility provides an added dimension to the Prius core values of great fuel economy, low emissions, proven technology and environmental stewardship.”
The Prius v shares the same platform as the Prius hatch and is powered by the same combination of a 73kW/142Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine, 60kW/207Nm electric motor and nickel-metal-hydride battery.
Its combined cycle fuel consumption is considerably higher than the Prius at 5.9 litres/100km (Prius achieves 3.9 litres/100km), although Toyota says its boot offers a healthy 971 litres of space with the rear seats upright.
Toyota Australia is also investigating the potential of the Prius+ model – a seven-seat version of the Prius v – for sale locally as well as the smaller Prius c Concept, which has serious potential as a sharp-looking and well-priced frugal city car.
“Later this year, we expect to be in a position to make further announcements about bringing an extended Prius family to local showrooms,” Mr Buttner said.
Sales of the ‘traditional’ Prius hatchback have dipped to troubling levels for Toyota Australia this year. Throughout the first four months of 2011, just 225 Prii have been sold, down from 639 over the same period in 2010.
To combat the diminishing sales, Toyota Australia slashed more than $7500 off the price of the top spec Prius i-Tech model in April, as well as thousands from the price of the entry-level Prius.
Meanwhile, the Lexus CT200h – which was only launched at the end of March – is already well ahead in terms of sales, with 398 registered so far this year.
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