According to an opinion piece by Automotive News, Toyota is milking its Prius line for all the prestige value it can.
By including the Prius c in amongst the other Prii, AN contends the Japanese automaker is artificially boosting sales numbers for what is now called the world’s third best selling lineup (the company is generally reluctant to give a breakout of individual models).
It says artificially because although the entry level hybrid shares a name, the Prius c has little more in common with its siblings than say, a Camry Hybrid, which AN quips could just as well be called a “Prius Grande,” while Toyota is at it.
The Prius c is significantly smaller, built on a different architecture, sports a smaller base engine and conventional gear shifter instead of the “toggle” found on the regular Prius, Prius Plug-In and Prius v models.
In fact AN, believes that it would probably be better to label the car as a Yaris Hybrid as it shares much of its structure with Toyota’s conventional subcompact. There’s a Camry Hybrid, so why not?
However, word has it that Toyota plans to
introduce an actual Yaris Hybrid in July developed by the firm’s European arm that it will be launched alongside the larger Auris Hybrid (a Euro market derivative of the Corolla).
According to Autocar magazine, both these machines will incorporate lighter, more efficient hybrid technology than the “traditional” Prius lineup, which will yield not only weight savings but also greater interior volume and trunk capacity.
So while Automotive News suggest that the Prius c could have been dubbed a Yaris Hybrid, that isn’t likely to happen, even if introducing the latter might somewhat result in a case of badge engineering in Toyota’s lineup.