YOUNTVILLE, CA – When it debuted in the U.S. nearly nine years ago, the first-generation Toyota Prius immediately gained a following among a small, devoted group of environmentalists and technophiles. But with the launch of the second-generation model in 2003, Toyota Motor Corp. enjoyed unanticipated success as the car went mainstream. “We knew the importance of Prius and what it represented, but I don’t think any of us could have predicted how quickly consumers would come to embrace ...

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