Focused on the Volt and LEAF? Don't Forget the Prius

While the press debates the merits of the new Chevy Volt (and whether to call it electric or hybrid) and the upcoming release of Nissan's electric LEAF, the most interesting "green" car story may be about the king of the segment, the Toyota Prius. It has not received as much attention, but Toyota's plans to extend the Prius line shows Japanese auto maker will be vigorous in making sure it continues to lead the industry in alternative fuel vehicles.

2010 Toyota Prius
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2010 Toyota Prius

Oh I'm sure some of you are reading this and yawning or dismissing the Toyota's idea of adding more vehicles under the Prius nameplate.

It isn't the first time, nor will it be the last that people have underestimated Prius.

The funny thing is, those who have second guessed Toyota about the Prius have consistently been wrong.

When the gas-electric hybrid came out, the pundits said its design was weird and would limit it to being an interesting niche vehicle. Hmmmm. They got that wrong.

When Prius sales surged as gas prices spiked, some pooh-poohed the skyrocketing numbers as a "one-time thing." Yes, there are no longer 6 month waiting lists, but Prius sales are purring along.

Now, as Toyota plans to extend the Prius brand, there are more than a few who doubt it will be a significant move.

But here's what many are forgetting. Prius is THE established brand in the green segment. Just ask the number of Chevy or Ford or Honda dealers who have had customers come in looking for a Prius. They may not know it's a Toyota they want, but they do know it's a Prius.

So yawn if you want as the next wave of Prius models are announced. Toyota would love to once again prove its critics wrong.

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