Toyota will use the Prius name on more hybrid models in its U.S. lineup, the automakers' top executives told a meeting of U.S. dealers in Las Vegas this week. But don't expect "Prius" to become a Scion-like sub-brand.
Automotive News reported late yesterday that, at a dealer meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday and Wednesday, Toyota executives said the name Prius would be attached to "a family of models" using similar hybrid powertrains, says veteran Toyota dealer Earl Stewart.
Toyota will have a range of Prius hybrid models "but Prius won't be a separate sub-brand like Scion," Stewart says.
"The Highlander hybrid and Camry hybrid do OK, but calling it ‘Synergy Drive' never resonated with consumers," Stewart says. "But they can make hay on the Prius name. It's a magic name. If somebody says ‘I drive a Prius,' everybody knows what he means."
Toyota Motor Sales COO Jim Lentz has been pushing for a multi-platform Prius lineup for a year. But this was the first time it has been openly discussed in front of TMS President Yoshi Inaba and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. [via Automotive News]