Toyota Motors is planning to showcase a new variant of its Prius hybrid in January, as the Japanese company tries to distance itself from a costly safety crisis that has affected its sales and reputation. The company is not revealing as to how the upcoming model will differ from the current Prius. The Toyota Prius is a market leader in hybrids, accounting for 70 per cent of global sales.
Don Esmond, Toyota Motor Sales USA senior vice president for automotive operations said, “We will introduce the next member of the Prius family at the 2011 auto show here in Detroit in January. It is an all-new model with more comfort, styling, versatility, and while still retaining the heritage of the original Prius”.
Esmond said the Toyota brand will introduce seven new or updated cars in 2011.
Toyota faced a severe crisis when a safety problem in some of Toyota’s best-selling models brought down the sales in the United States, its top market, and pushed Toyota to uncharacteristically increase incentives to entice buyers.
“We have gone back to the basics of more carefully listening to our customers, and have made some significant changes to become more responsive, safety-focused organization,” Esmond said.
He said Toyota is recovering steadily from the safety crisis.
“We have tarnished the brand but we did not rust it all the way through,” said Esmond.