Next-Gen Prius Design to Blame for Hybrid’s Delay
Auto industry experts have long been awaiting the debut of the next-generation Toyota Prius. But back in July, we were plagued with disappointment after Toyota announced the next Prius would be delayed by six months. At the time, we weren’t sure why this was happening, but now it appears that it was due to top executives at Toyota giving the next-gen Prius design a hefty thumbs-down.
The meeting in question actually happened last year, when Prius designers presented the early design of the popular hybrid. Mitsuhisa Kato, an executive vice president at Toyota, vetoed the design, and Prius Chief Engineer Koji Toyoshima went back to the drawing board, quite literally. When he came back to Kato and other executives with a new, improved design, production was finally given the go-ahead. This focus on design is something president Akio Toyoda has made a priority in recent years, as vehicles like the Mirai and the C-HR Concept demonstrate.
Speaking of the C-HR Concept, rumor has it that the next-gen Prius design will closely mirror its dashing good looks. If this is the case, the new design will certainly help rid the Prius of its slightly frumpy image. And with more and more hybrid and alternative-energy vehicles emerging, it’s more important than ever for the Prius to remain as competitive as possible.
Tim Shults likes to play golf and spend time with his four daughters.