Industry journal Automotive News reports production of the new Prius (codenamed 690A) has been pushed back to December 2015, with the ‘confirmation vehicle’ – a prototype generally built 12 months before the start of full-scale production – scheduled for around November 2014.
The delay means the current, third-generation Prius will likely continue to be sold in Australia until the middle of 2016, by which time it will be more than seven years old.
A source revealed the delay is partially the result of the car’s engineers seeking to maximise its fuel economy. Toyota is targeting efficiency improvements of at least 10 per cent with the fourth-generation Prius – a goal that should see combined cycle fuel consumption fall to about 3.5 litres per 100km.
The new Prius will be the first model built on the brand’s modular underpinnings dubbed ‘Toyota New Global Architecture’, which will be used by a host of future models.
Its new-generation hybrid system is also set to be smaller and lighter than the current drivetrain, and will also be versatile enough to power models smaller than the Prius C and larger than the Camry Hybrid.
The publication claims production of the second-generation Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid is expected to follow about 10 months after the regular Prius in October 2016.