Calling it ‘The next mechanical marvel’ in the Prius family, Toyota has released a lone teaser image of the mystery Prius variant that it plans to unveil at the 2016 New York Auto Show later this month.
The cryptic teaser image the company released does not reveal too much about the unknown offering, but it does focus on the all new taillights which span the entire width of the car. The LED bar is much thinner here, and is vertically shorter than the units on the current generation Prius. This suggests that the mystery model could either be a more practical four door sedan, or a two door coupe. Personally I suspect that the four door is the more realistic possibility of the two since the coupe would only appeal to a limited niche market, and would look out of place in a family of cars that is better known for being green than being fast.
It’s also unknown whether it is a direct successor to the Prius Plug-in Hybrid or an offshoot like the Prius c and the bigger Prius v were for the old Prius. However, it could be linked to a recent patent filing by Toyota that trademarked the term “Prius Prime” suggesting that a potential rebranding of the car could occur during the next few years. Regardless, look for the new model to retain the standard car’s eco friendly hardware as well as its basic interior layout which would help Toyota reduce both development and production costs.
Expect additional information to emerge closer to Toyota’s press confrence in New York where the new offering will also share the stage with the 2017 Highlander. Hopefully Toyota will share more details about the “Prius Prime” trademark and whether more models will be joining the Prius model lineup in the near future.
With the next generation Toyota Prius currently under development, Toyota has announced plans to formally end production of the current generation Prius plug-in hybrid as part of its plans to formally introduce the next generation Toyota Prius which will also feature a plug-in hybrid variant.
Toyota claims that the last of the current batch of 2015 spec plug-ins will be produced sometime next month, before the plant is retooled to accommodate the equipment needed to facilitate production of the next generation Prius. While the plug-in variant of the Prius was often seen as the slowest selling example of the Prius lineup, it was a key contender in California, where it competed with rivals such as the Chevrolet Spark EV and the Fiat 500e in that state’s unique green vehicle market.
“We are hard at work developing the next generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid and we are looking forward to sharing more details with you as we approach our launch date” revealed Toyota marketing executive Nathan Kokes in a statement released to the PriusChat forum website.
The report appears to suggest that Toyota still has about 1,100 units sitting on dealer lots through out the country and that the company managed to sell 428 examples during the month of April which is down by about 75% when compared to the same period last year. These two figures could indicate that the current stockpile could be depleted by late summer or early fall.
Toyota has currently not released a formal launch date for either the 2015 base Prius or the plug-in hybrid version, and in a separate statement Kokes admitted that the official production plans are not aligned with either the launch of the Mirai or the availability of upcoming government incentives. “As mentioned we are stopping production in June but we will have plenty of Prius plug-in hybrids to sell long after that.”
When the new Prius does eventually get launched, look for the standard model to arrive first with the plug-in arriving later. It will be curious to see whether the existing supply of cars can last long enough to satiate the needs of dealerships and their customers since the next gen PHV will not arrive on the market until fall of 2016 which could push stockpiles to their limits in the long term.