Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. reportedly tells its dealers it will expand the Prius lineup, putting the name on one or two model variants.
TMSUSA President Jim Lentz has maintained for several years, and as recently as last month, that badging other models with the well-known hybrid-electric vehicle’s name was a good move, as many people are more aware of “Prius” vs.’s HEV marque, “Hybrid Synergy Drive.”
“My vision is to have a family of Prius vehicles,” Lentz said early last month at an industry conference in Traverse City, MI. However, “the rest of the world hasn’t agreed with my vision yet.”
Toyota also tells dealers this week at a Las Vegas meeting that it intends to dole out $1 billion on a marketing campaign in the fourth quarter to spur sales. That figure reportedly is 30%-40% more than what the auto maker typically would spend on quarterly advertising.
Toyota additionally says it will hold the line on pricing of its next-generation 4Runner SUV. The next-generation of the vehicle, which currently stickers at $28,640, will be unveiled next week at the Texas state fair.
Pricing of some Toyota models will be adjusted to allow for higher profit margins for its dealers.
The auto maker has seen an historic slump in U.S. sales in the last two years, as its major markets in the West and South have been impacted during the economic downturn.
Toyota sales, although up 10.5% last month due to “Cash for Clunkers,” marking the company’s first monthly sales increase in two years, were down 29% through August, Ward’s data show.