2010 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
When the new, third-gen 2010 Toyota Prius goes on sale this summer, it will be offered alongside the current-gen Prius in Japan according to the business newspaper Nikkei. The point: create a reason for hybrid buyers to stay in the Toyota fold despite the arrival of the reportedly lower-priced 2010 Honda Insight.
The Honda Insight is rumored to retail below $2 million yen (roughly $22,222 as of this writing), a number that Edmunds claims is a significant psychological factor in Japanese car purchases. The current Prius starts out above $25,000; Toyota plans to "de-content" the current model's interior to bring its price closer to Insight levels for summer battle in the hybrid car segment.
2009 Toyota Prius TouringEnlarge Photo
Will Japanese buyers, reputedly unable to resist the latest and greatest, really spring for an old-gen Prius with a gutted interior when they could have Honda's 2010 Insight for the same or even less money? If buyers really want the best, they could step up to the third-gen 2010 Prius with its more powerful 1.8-liter, new styling inside and out, and infusion of the latest tech. But that model is likely to ring at prices higher than the outgoing Prius, which tops out at over $37,000 in Japan.