TOKYO – When Toyota Motor Corp. launched the Prius hybrid-electric vehicle a little over 10 years ago on Dec. 10, 1997, a good helping of skepticism was dished out along with all the accolades the car received. “No one thought the Prius would succeed in the marketplace so soon,” says Tokyo analyst Koji Endo, director-equity research at Credit Suisse First Boston Securities (Japan) Ltd. “ We had a rough timeframe in mind of 20 years, not 10,” he says. “It’s not that the technology wasn’t ...

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