With the price of the 2010 Prius expected to go up, Toyota is fretting over its lack of a comparable product to compete with the upcoming 2010 Honda Insight. According to Japan's Nikkei, Toyota will introduce an all-new hybrid model to compete with Honda's new low-cost hybrid.
While the Prius is undoubtedly the hybrid sales champ, Honda's newly introduced Insight is selling like hot cakes in Japan because of its lower price. While Honda had anticipated monthly sales of about 5000 units, it racked up 18,000 orders in the first month alone.
Japan's Nikkei business daily reported today that Toyota will bring a new hybrid model to the market, priced at about 2 million yen (about $20,510), to better compete with the Insight. Toyota will build the new hybrid by modifying Prius parts, and would have a smaller engine than the 1.5-liter found in the Prius. Sales could begin as early as 2011 in Japan, and Toyota is considering the model for overseas markets as well.
Toyota has already taken a step in competing with the Insight in Japan, announcing that it will continue to sell a stripped-down version of the last-gen Prius for a much lower price, alongside the all-new 2010 model. The 2010 Toyota Prius will go on sale in May.
Toyota declined to comment for the Nikkei's story.
Source: Nikkei via Reuters