Earlier this year, we heard rumors that Toyota had plans to keep selling its last-gen Prius alongside the all-new 2010 Prius to compete with the cheaper 2010 Honda Insight. However, Autoblog has learned that Toyota's strategy to keep producing the old Prius to fight Honda's new hybrid only applies to Japan.
Autoblog talked to John McCandless, from Toyota corporate communications, and Masahiko Maeda, assistant chief engineer, during a test drive of the new Prius. Both confirmed that the strategy of selling two generations of the Prius side by side will be enacted, but only in Japan. Here in the U.S., the current-gen Prius will be discontinued once the 2010 model arrives - although interested customers can still purchase used Toyota hybrids through the automaker's Certified Used Hybrid Program.
The new Honda Insight's low base price is expected to strongly undercut the new Prius' price, giving Toyota's biggest rival a significant price advantage in the hybrid market. In order to address that concern, Toyota's plan is to selling the old model alongside the new 2010 Prius to steal potential Insight customers. Although official pricing has not yet been announced for either car, we're expecting Toyota to price its new hybrid at least $3000 higher than Honda's target price of just under $20,000.