Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., feels the word Prius is the best thing they have going as far as 'buzz' is concerned. That's why he'd like to see it become a brand, not just a car.
"Try as we might to ingrain Hybrid Synergy Drive with consumers, what really stuck was Prius," Lentz said in an interview. "So rather than spend millions more driving Hybrid Synergy Drive on Highlander or Camry, I think the consumer is telling us they like the idea of Prius."There have been several reports of a Prius coupe, wagon or a commuter car. But despite the rumors, Lentz says there's nothing in the pipeline right now that will definitely turn the Prius into a brand rather than just a car.
"There is nothing in the pipeline," Lentz said. "It all depends on our resources and when we can make it happen. The longer gas is at four dollars, the greater likelihood (these vehicles) will bubble to the top."Lentz notes that marketing Scion as a brand name has worked very well, rather than marketing each car under the brand.
Even if Prius does become a brand name, it won't replace the Hybrid Synergy Drive. So the Camry Hybrid won't become the Camry Prius.
Source: Toyota exec: Maybe it's time to raise a Prius hybrid family - Automotive News