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Why Two Compact Hybrids? Demographics Play a Position, Toyota Claims

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For 20 years, the identify “Prius” was all a dedicated Toyota purchaser wanted to know when looking for a compact hybrid vehicle. Quickly, there’ll be two choices, not counting the plug-in Prius Prime.

The automaker’s determination to supply a hybrid model of the nonetheless robust-promoting Corolla was not made to usher its famed hybrid mannequin into the shadows; slightly, there’s two key causes for it. Positive, the Corolla nameplate carries an enviable fame and boatloads of identify recognition, however Toyota’s additionally prepared to confess that the Prius’ attributes simply weren’t resonating with a sure phase of the American public. 

To be clear, the subsequent-era Corolla Hybrid isn’t earmarked solely for U.S. consumers. It’s on its option to ninety nations.

Jack Hollis, common supervisor of the Toyota Division at Toyota Motor North America, advised Automotive Information that the primary cause for increasing the model’s compact hybrid presence includes fuel financial system requirements. The Corolla nameplate nonetheless sees boffo quantity, and a hybrid model would assist Toyota’s standing within the eyes of environmental regulators.

The second purpose to water down the Prius’ significance within the lineup includes the sort of purchaser who may be out there for a Corolla hybrid. The Prius simply doesn’t play nicely with Hispanics, he claimed, however the Corolla does. As Hispanic consumers present a robust want for Japanese manufacturers, the presence of a fuel-electric Corolla may sway hybrid buyers into staying with the model.

Lassoing resistant consumers can also be the motivation behind Toyota’s unveiling, final week, of the all-wheel drive Prius AWD-e. Whereas the Prius has seen its standing (and gross sales) shrink amid newfound competitors and the presence of PHEVs and battery electric automobiles, it’s nonetheless the primary identify that involves thoughts when anybody mentions the phrase “hybrid.” However what works for consumers in a single area won’t work in one other.

In line with the mannequin’s chief engineer, Shoichi Kaneko, the addition of AWD to the Prius’ gear roster happened after Northeastern sellers demanded a Prius that would deal with the area’s infamous blizzards.

[Image: Toyota]

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