Toyota plans to raise production of Prius wagon to 70% above initial target

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 7, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to raise the monthly output of its Prius hybrid wagon to 70% higher than its initial target by August or September, according to a report from the Nikkei business daily.

Last January, Toyota introduced the extended Prius family at the Detroit auto show. It also announced plans to start sales of the Prius v, the five-seat version, in North America in the summer. Meanwhile, the Prius+, the three-row model, will start selling in Europe in the middle of 2012.

The report stated that customers have making orders at a pace that’s faster than the company anticipated since Prius Alpha, the first of an extended family of Prius models that Toyota is planning, debuted on May 13.

The Nikkei said that to reduce the waiting time of customers, Toyota will increase production from 3,000 units each month to 5,000.

The wagon is available in a two-row, five-seat version as well as a three-row, seven-seat version. Toyota, which led the way for hybrid technology, seeks to sell at least 1 million hybrid vehicles annually throughout the globe by the middle of the decade. It aims to make the hybrid option available across its entire lineup by 2020.

Toyota’s new Prius V is a vehicle that is able to meet the demands of families that have active lifestyles while also having the qualities that are typically seen in the Prius DNA. In fact, the “V” in the name stands for versatility. The Prius V will have the same platform as that of the current Prius and will even have the Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. While the exterior of the Prius V may be compact, the interior offers a lot of space with its cargo space being larger by more than 50% when compared to the current Prius. On its interior, the Prius V is able to highlight its overall proportion with the flexibility and space that active families may need.

The space in the interior offers comfort and provides the right amount of head room and legroom in the rear. There is also the 38-inch couple distance and visibility is excellent due to the high seating position. Cargo space is 34.3 cubic feet at the back of the rear seats and can be accessed using the wide-opening yet low rear hatch. In more ways than one, the Prius V is not only a dedicated hybrid vehicle in the market that offers the most space, it is even better when compared to other compact SUVs.

With an interior that is designed particularly for young families, up to five people can be seated comfortably. The seats in the second row can be slid to let easy entry and exit to the vehicle. It even has rear-storage flexibility and offers a recline of up to 45 degrees to provide better comfort. In addition to allowing the rear seats a 60/40 split, there are also four different types of seating arrangements in order to deliver usability for passengers and their luggage.

Meanwhile for those long cargo items, it can still fit inside by folding the seat of the front passenger. Since the Prius V is able to give a balance of smooth aerodynamics, refined style, and excellent spaciousness, the Prius V has a low coefficient of drag at 0.29. Even then it does not prevent the convenient packaging of this model. Since this model has been designed from scratch, it has a shape that developed from the Prius instead of the elongated model.

Meanwhile for the exterior, the style clearly displays that the vehicle is bold, rounded and smooth. Its roofline has been extended, ensuring that the Prius V is able to maintain the triangular silhouette the Prius is known for. The front has a trapezoid shape and has those sharp-edged headlamps. There is also the wind-slipping aero corners that enhance aerodynamics and a larger under grille.

All of these result in a unique design growing from the current Prius. Meanwhile, the rear portion of the Prius V has a style that underscores the improved backdoor panel plus a sophisticated combination of its tail lights. Another unique feature is the roof spoiler that has been designed specifically for this vehicle and helps improve the flow of air. The Prius V will also have the resin Panoramic View moonroof that comes with power retractable sun shades.

This particular feature is a first for Toyota and helps the interior have the open atmosphere feel. It provides amazing heat insulation and is lighter by 40% when compared to the standard glass roofs having the same size. Going back to the interior, the front contains the instrument-panel controls that have a digital combination meter mounted on the center and the single-dial air-conditioning control. This gives the interior of the Prius V a more advanced look and even offers user-friendly commands. The driving controls have also been given a silver trim. These controls include the choice for driving mode, electronic shift lever, parking switch, and the Push Button Start.

Even with the large space, this midsize and family friendly model has EPA fuel economy rating of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 40 mpg combined. Compared to the other vehicles on the market like the crossover, SUV, or wagon, the Prius V has the best fuel economy rating by far. Emission is 66% lower compared to the standard new vehicle. Similar to the present Prius generation, the Prius V will come equipped with a host of technology that comes with the usual standard features.

In order to adapt to the current condition or meet the preferences of the driver, four driving modes are offered (Normal, Eco, EV, and Power). Other standard features include the back-up camera, electronic shift lever, Smart Key System with Push Button Start, and Hill Start Assist Control. Other choices include the Advanced Parking Guidance System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System, and LED headlamps. In order to have a high level of safety, the Prius V has a high-strength cabin with seven airbags inside. The body structure has impact beams which allow it to absorb energy. Other safety features are the leg absorption pads and cross members. The seats in the front have been designed to reduce the likelihood of a whiplash injury in the event that a collision occurs for the driver and the passenger in the front.

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