The new Honda Insight (above) is about ,000 less than the Toyota Prius. Toyota may be planning a new hybrid model that is considerably cheaper than the current Toyota Prius (below).
“Hybrid affordability” is the catch phrase for the week.
Just days after Honda announced a base price of ,800 for its new Insight hybrid, making it the least expensive hybrid to be sold in the US—more than ,000 cheaper than the current Prius—Japan’s Nikkei business daily reports that Toyota plans to counter with a cheaper new hybrid model of its own. Toyota refused to comment on the report.
According to Nikkei, Toyota plans to develop a down-level model to the Prius with a US sticker price of around ,500, in order to directly compete with the Insight. It could hit the market as early as 2011.
The third-generation 2010 Toyota Prius is due out this spring, but pricing has not yet been released. Analysts expect that it will have a base price very comparable to the outgoing model. Toyota’s relatively modest price point for the Prius, combined with the number one ranking for fuel efficiency, has been the one of the keys to the vehicle’s global success.