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Why isn’t Toyota bringing the sleek new Prius to Australia?

IDEA: Imagine my surprise when I saw it New generation Toyota Prius when it is revealed this week.

The world’s largest car company, wondering how to reinvent its hybrid icon in an era defined by all-electric vehicles, decided to give it some new fanfare.

It looks great – sleek, stylish and completely unlike what we’ve come to expect from Toyota’s longtime eco-leader. A new lease for life, as it were.

The old model was full of weird folds and proportions, while generations ago were probably less clumsy but also more boring, which is worse.

However, this latest version, which has me rolling my eyes, will be the first Toyota Prius not to be sold in Australia.

In making this decision, they learned the wrong lesson from the failure of the old model and pulled the plug at the wrong time.

It’s true that recently Prius sales have plummeted, promote its premature demise. Toyota has long maintained its role: proving the value of petrol-electric powertrains before they were ubiquitous on Corollas, RAV4s, Camrys and Klugers.

Today, the majority of Toyota passenger cars and crossovers sold in Australia are hybrids, which in Toyota’s way of thinking clearly means that the Prius is no longer needed.

But I suppose this is actually more of a reason to bring back the Prius, to reinvent a badge with a cache that is dwindling. Time to make money on all the hard work, right?

Also, it doesn’t matter if other hybrid vehicles with the Toyota badge outsold it. That is the purpose of a brand leader. I thought that a company well versed in advertising would understand the value of this.

Toyota Australia isn’t afraid of niche offerings, especially with its GR range of sports cars. So why does it beat the Prius as soon as it gets interesting again?

Not only that, but this bike seems to be more than just a mere petrol bike, with the pleasures behind the wheel limited to superspeeds.

The new 2.0-liter parallel-hybrid has a total output of 144 hp – more than the 1.8 liter 90 hp of its predecessor.

Then there’s the plug-in hybrid version with 164 kW of power and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time reduced to 6.7 seconds, and a 50% higher electric driving range – that’s around 60 km. – from a 13.6 kWh battery.

Toyota Australia product planners and executives tend to do a groundbreaking job, as it dominates the sales charts. I somewhat admire the Big T even if many consider it a slow battery-electric device, but this decision really fails.

I’m pretty sure there are Toyota people reading this, so please keep in mind that it’s never too late to reconsider. The first step to dealing with a bad decision is to admit it.

THAN: Toyota Prius: Looking back, because it was discontinued in Australia

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