Toyota has announced that the Prius will be its own brand in the near future. Toyota says with the new brand, a hybrid vehicle will only cost $500 and $1,000 more than a non-hybrid. Left Lane News says that the Prius brand will feature the current Prius sedan as well as two new models, one slightly larger and one slightly smaller than the current one.
The current Prius will be redesigned for the 2010 model year with a bigger engine and better fuel economy, possibly between 60 and 80 mpg on the highway. The new Prius will be revealed officially at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.
Like Lexus and Scion, the Prius brand will still be built by Toyota but will aim at a different market segment than the parent company. Lexus was created to sell luxury cars to American buyers who saw Toyotas as practical and reliable but lacking prestige. Scion was created to appeal to young buyers who saw Toyota as too vanilla and unexciting. The Prius brand will most likely target buyers who are concerned with being environmentally friendly.