Special Coverage

Management Briefing Seminars

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Toyota Motor Corp. will stage the global debut of its next-generation Prius hybrid-electric vehicle at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a top official confirms.

Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota Div. in the U.S., tells media at the Management Briefing Seminars here the Prius will debut in Detroit, as rumored, alongside a new dedicated Lexus HEV.

Carter says buyers can expect the new Prius to advance technologically beyond the existing model, but he declines to be specific in regards to fuel economy or features.

“You can expect significant advancement on the third (generation),” he says, noting a big technological leap was made from the first- to second-generation models.

Carter also says Prius variants, including different body styles, are “under study.”

Toyota previously has talked about expanding the vehicle’s reach by adding different body styles or attaching the Prius name to other Toyota and Lexus hybrids.

“We see ourselves in the 2010s selling in excess of a million hybrids,” Carter says.

“Prius has a very strong reputation in the market, so we think (expanding its lineup) could be an option for the future.”

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com