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Toyota to slice Prius price in Japan

Third coming: The third-generation Toyota Prius is due here in July.

Arrival of Honda Insight causes Toyota to reduce Prius price in Japan

6 Apr 2009

TOYOTA will cut the price of its new Prius to bring it closer to the Honda Insight hybrid when it goes on sale next month, according to reports in Japan.

Automotive News says Toyota dealers have been told prices for the Prius in Japan, although Toyota is yet to announce them to the public.

While it had been estimated the entry-level version of the larger, more powerful and more efficient third-generation Prius was going to cost ¥2.4 million ($A33,000), dealers have told Automotive News it will now cost ¥2 million ($A28,000).

That would bring it into line with a mid-spec Insight, but the base model Honda will still be cheaper at 1.9 million yen ($A26,000).

The Automotive News report suggests the new Prius range will stretch to ¥3.27 million ($A45,000), while the most luxurious Insight tops out at ¥2.21 million ($30,100).

The new Prius is larger than the Insight and also more efficient.

8 center imageLeft: Honda Insight.

Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system is not as complex as the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system, but it is significantly cheaper to produce.

While both shut off at idle, the Toyota’s electric motor is able to power the vehicle by itself up to a certain rate, while the Honda system can only move forward with the combustion engine running, receiving significant assistance form the electric motor.

The new Prius is scheduled to go on sale in Australia this July. While there is no formal launch date for the Insight, Honda Australia says it would like the car to arrive here at some stage next year.

It is not yet clear if Honda Australia will be able to significantly undercut the current Civic Hybrid’s $35,990 price tag when it arrives.

There is no word on the starting price of the current Prius, although there has been talk that it could drop below the existing start price of $37,400 thanks to production efficiencies.

Toyota Australia senior executive director of sales David Buttner told GoAuto last month that the company was hoping to sharpen the price.

“We look at every product that comes to the market to make sure we’re competitive with our technology on an equivalent type of vehicle,” Mr Buttner said.

“So as we progress down the track, I would expect that the price of that technology will reduce. The timeframe, I’m not too sure, but we will always make sure we are competitive in the marketplace with the product we have.”

Autonews reports Toyota in Japan will continue to sell a version of the existing Prius alongside the new one to match the price of the entry-level Insight.

It says the car will be given a new interior and will be predominantly aimed at fleet customers.

Read more:

Toyota stung by Honda Insight's success

Next Toyota Prius to sip below 4.0L/100km

Prius v Insight fight heats up


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