Times are certainly changing. When the original Toyota Prius appeared in 1997 (albeit a bit later in the U.S.), it was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world. Today, the Prius family is made up of several members: the third-generation Toyota Prius, the Toyota Prius v extended hatchback, the thrifty, subcompact Toyota Prius c, which will launch soon, and the newest Prius plug-in, which also premieres (at select dealerships) this spring. In a recent interview, President and Chief Operating Officer for Toyota North America, Yoshi Inaba, explained the huge impact Toyota hybrid vehicles have made on the market and the world and the company's plans for the future.
According to Toyota, the Prius has saved an estimated 16 million tons of carbon dioxide, $2.9 billion in fuel costs, and 1.1 billion gallons of gas. In fact, Inaba asserts, "And according to a recent study, if everyone in the U.S. drove a Prius, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 70."1 Toyota plans to release 19 new or updates models this year (under all of its brands combined) and many of these vehicles will be hybrid vehicles and/or fuel efficient vehicles. Inaba asserts that although gasoline will continue to be important, prices will also continue to rise; that's why Toyota is crafting a Prius for every kind of driver, as well as developing several other fuel efficient models and technologies. As Inaba explains, "I can't promise you flying cars or Star Trek remotes that beam you up. . . But I can promise you that Toyota and the rest of the auto industry will be eagerly developing cars that look great, are fun to drive, easy on fuel and the environment and will help us reach our dreams in the future."2
2012 promises to be a great year for Toyota, so be sure to stop by Motorcars Toyota, located in Cleveland Heights, and check out our great selection of newToyota vehicles.