Hybrid sales push ison
ORDINARY Australians are the new target for Toyota as it looks to lift hybrid sales. The petrol-electric Camry and Prius were almost a non-event for private buyers last year, with fewer than 2000 people choosing a hybrid for personal use. Sales results from VFacts show only 1316 ‘‘private’’ buyers for the Camry last year and 385 for the Prius. The cars were more popular with governments and fleets, but the total number of Toyota hybrids to hit the road last year was only 8444. Prius sales dipped from 3040 in 2009 to 1611 last year as Toyota pushed the locally made Camry hybrid. Toyota intends to drive the business harder this year as it prepares for the two new Prius models expected in 2012.
A greener News fleet, Page 24
Tcoming arrival of more Prius models for the Toyota hybrid family is causing a fuss. The problem is that no one knows the plural of Prius, a world originally chosen in Japan because it meant ‘‘to go before’’.
It’s a Latin word with no previous plural.
In the US, where two new Prius models were previewed at the Detroit auto show, Toyota has taken the task to the people with a massive online poll that has drawn hundreds of thousands of votes.
It narrowed the field to five potential choices before the start of voting with Prius fans given a choice between Priuses, Prii, Prius, Prien and Prium.
The poll closes on February 20 when Toyota US will announce the result, as well as locking in a Prius plural for its work on the expanded model line-up.
The first newcomer for the range — joining the current Prius and plugin Prius hatches — is a more familyfocused people mover revealed as the Prius V at Detroit. (V in this case stands for versatility, as it also does for Volvo’s wagons.)
The next new model is the smaller and slightly sportier Prius C. The Prius V is expected to be in American showrooms in the second half of this year, with the Prius C appearing in the first half of 2012.
The launch dates point to more Australian action in 2012.
The two leading contenders in the Prius poll are Prii and Priuses, with Prien running last.
As well as running the Prius vote, Toyota US is using the arrival of the new models for an unusual online marketing campaign with a series of short films ‘‘featuring a notable expert exploring the etymology of words’’.
Etymology is the study of the development of words and the historical verification of their meanings.
More than one: Toyota president Akio Toyoda (above) introduces the Prius V mid-size
hybrid-electric vehicle in Detroit and (right) the new
Toyota Prius C in Detroit.