2009 North American International Auto Show
COBO Center, Riverview Ballroom
Monday, January 12, 2009, 11:30 AM EST
Irv Miller – Toyota Group Vice President, Environmental and Public Affairs
Bob Carter – Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager
IRV MILLER REMARKS:
If we heard it once from an industry executive, we heard it many times. The best thing about 2008 is that it's over. 2009 will be the year of not just change, but in many cases, reinvention, moving forward with a new resolve and determination.
I believe the 2009 North American International Auto show, right here in Detroit, could not have come at a better time. And I can't think of a better time, or place, to launch a vehicle like the all-new, third-generation Prius. Here to do that it is my pleasure to introduce Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager, Bob Carter.
BOB CARTER REMARKS:
Good morning, everyone, and thanks for coming to the world debut of the all-new 2010 midsize Prius. I'd also like to welcome everyone watching our live webcast on our new media site Toyota Newsroom dot com.
Just 24 hours ago, Lexus revealed their new HS 250h. Today, I have the privilege of showing you the third generation of the vehicle that symbolizes Toyota's fundamental commitment to preserving and improving the world in which we live. The name Prius, Latin for "to go before," was chosen because it was created as a predecessor of cars to come. Well, it's certainly come a long way.
In 1997, Prius went on sale in Japan as the world's first mass-produced, gas-electric, hybrid vehicle. In 2000, Prius came to America, where it now has the highest owner loyalty in the industry. It's also the world's best-selling hybrid with more than one million sold in 44 countries. In total, they've logged more than 37 billion miles. Prius has proven that hybrid technology is viable, durable, and one of the best ways to preserve our environment and maximize our natural resources. As a result hybrid technology is now a mainstream option being adopted by automakers and people everywhere.
The features and performance of the new midsize Prius that you'll see in a few moments are superior to anything we have ever built. And along with building a better car, we will make it available in more places. We plan to sell this new Prius in eighty countries worldwide, nearly twice as many as today. Depending on market conditions, our global sales objective will be about 400,000 units per year by 2010. That will put Prius near the top of our best-selling vehicles around the world along with Camry and Corolla.
Here in the U.S., Prius' sales history proves that consumers have embraced hybrid technology and made the car a household name. We started out with a modest sales goal of 12,000 units, but as awareness grew, so did consumer interest. We responded by increasing worldwide production by 50 percent, allowing us to sell more than 100,000 units in 2005 in the U.S. And we just capped off 2008 with nearly 160,000 units sold, making Prius one of the top 10 cars of the year.
Currently, there are nearly 700,000 units in operation in the U.S., and we plan to grow that number with the all-new Prius. No other vehicle in the industry has had this kind of growth in sales and production.
Along the way, Prius has had its share of recognition receiving many accolades, among them "North American Car of The Year" for 2004. And the country's leading consumer publication has consistently ranked Prius among the best in reliability and owner satisfaction for its class. Prius remains an icon for positive change and is the halo vehicle for Toyota's environmental brand image. And now, it's better than ever. Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to present to you, the all-new 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid.
Prius is more than a hybrid, it's a solution. No longer is it a second car or a passing fad. In many households, it has become the primary family car.
Since Prius was first introduced, the consumer demographic has shifted from an early adopter to a mainstream shopper. The Prius has evolved to meet the changing needs of this growing and diverse customer base. Improvements to the new Prius, such as fuel economy, were the result of this real-world use and customer feedback.
The first-generation Prius had a combined mpg of 41. It was replaced by the current model at 46 miles per gallon. You may have heard a lot of claims over the last couple of days about mpg. I'm here to tell you that the new Prius will achieve an estimated combined 50 miles per gallon, thanks to its unique shape, a larger engine, and smaller, more efficient hybrid components. Not only is it the most fuel-efficient in the mid-size segment, it is also the highest mileage car sold in America. In the area of styling, its silhouette is iconic – you can spot a Prius from 100 yards away. The already-sleek design has been further enhanced with a more dynamic exterior, underbody panels, sharp corner edges, and a longer spoiler.
What lies underneath the hood continues to set Prius apart from the rest of the hybrids on the market. The new Prius, unlike most of its competitors, is an uncompromised hybrid, utilizing Hybrid Synergy Drive that can run on either gas alone, electric power alone, or a combination of both.
Prius will feature a powertrain that's 90-percent newly-developed with significant improvements over the previous generation. Prius adopts a new, beltless 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gas engine with 98 horsepower. It runs at lower RPMs at highway speeds for more relaxed driving, better fuel efficiency, and improved uphill performance.
Hybrid components like the inverter, motor, and generator are now smaller and lighter. An exhaust heat recovery system, exhaust gas recirculation, and an electric water pump contribute to a more efficient hybrid system with a net horsepower rating of 134.
In addition to normal driving, Prius now comes with three selectable modes - EV, Eco and Power - to accommodate a wide range of driving conditions. The battery module carries over from the tried-and-true technology from the current Prius.
Engineers applied enhancements throughout the entire vehicle to achieve 50 miles-per-gallon, more consistent efficiency in real-world driving, and further reductions in CO2 emissions.
Electric power consumption has been reduced through the use of a more efficient air conditioning system and new, optional LED head lamps. Internal tests show that Prius' zero-to-sixty acceleration time has dropped from the previous generation's mid 10-second range to 9.8 seconds, making it comparable to that of an average midsize sedan with a 2.4-liter engine. This is in response to customer expectations for better every-day performance. In short, the entire Prius package has been made more efficient from overall power consumption to output.
Prius comes well-equipped, and now provides more feedback to the driver through an improved multi-information display integrated into the dash. The display features fuel consumption history, energy flow, and a new hybrid system indicator that all provide the driver with information to help reduce fuel consumption.
Prius owners have always been an influential group. They're advocates of innovation and embracers of new technology. They're interested in more than just mpg which is why the new Prius will feature an impressive list of optional equipment.
I'd like to point out just a few, such as the solar roof that automatically powers a ventilation system on hot days. Now, a car parked in the sun can reach interior temperatures of up to 170-degrees. This system allows fresh air to circulate into the vehicle, cooling down the cabin so that the A/C doesn't have to work as hard, conserving battery power. The solar roof will be paired with a remote air-conditioning system that is the first in the world to run on battery power alone.
And finally, touch tracer technology, the first of its kind, digitally displays steering wheel controls on the instrument panel. In addition, Prius will offer new optional safety features such as a pre-collision system; lane-keep assist with a lane-departure warning function; intelligent parking assist, previously only available on Lexus vehicles; and Safety Connect, Toyota's first safety and security service that includes Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Locator, and an SOS call button. Safety Connect will be available a few months following launch.
Sales of the 2010 Prius will start simultaneously in both the U.S. and Japan in late spring, followed shortly by Canada and other countries. Our current sales target for Prius' first full calendar year in the U.S. will be around 180,000 units.
We expect a large portion of this volume to come from current Prius owners. That's because more than 90 percent say they will buy another Prius.
Now, I'd like to take a moment to introduce the person responsible for bringing us the latest generation of this iconic vehicle, the Chief Engineer of the Prius, Mr. Akihiko Otsuka. Mr. Otsuka, thank you for developing another Prius that will continue to set the precedent for hybrid technology and performance.
The first-generation Prius held more than 300 patents on its hybrid technology. The second-generation Prius claimed 370 patents. Since then, the Prius nameplate has had more than two thousand patent applications filed across the world, with the third-generation Prius filing one thousand on its own.
Prius was the first hybrid in our lineup, but it's certainly not the last. We're still on track to have a hybrid powertrain option for every model we sell in the 2020s. Prius' Hybrid Synergy Drive system remains unrivaled. It has paved the way for hybrid research and development across the industry, and opened doors for a new era of hybrids, such as plug-ins. In fact, Toyota's hybrid system makes plug-in capability possible, without engineering a whole new system. The launch of the third-generation Prius here today offers further proof of Toyota's commitment to the environment and our drive to continually raise the bar for true sustainable mobility. Thanks again for joining us and please enjoy the rest of the show.