History of the Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: History of the Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry

Friday, May 08, 2009

History of the Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry

Toyota just released their passenger car chronology. For those of you interested in their hybrid car development, enjoy.  First is the Prius, then the Camry.  All years are Model Years unless noted.  MY refers to Model Year while CY refers to Calendar Year.

Series Chronology

1997 - Prius goes on sale in Japan becoming the world’s first mass-produced
gas/electric hybrid vehicle
2000 - Prius is launched in the U.S market as a 2001 model year
2001 - American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy named Prius “Greenest gasoline-powered passenger sedan in the United States”
2001 - Society of Automotive Engineers named it “Best Engineered Car of 2001”
2001 - Ward's Auto World magazine named the Prius gas/electric hybrid system one of the "10 Best Engines for 2001"
2001 - Named one of Environmental Protection Agency’s “Best Compact Cars” in the 2001 Fuel Economy Guide
2001 - Womanmotorist.com’s Reader’s Choice Awards – First Place for Eco Cars
2001 - AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Score (VSS) award for Alternative Fuel Vehicle
2002 - Prius became available with four factory options.
2002 - AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Score (VSS) award for “Green” car
2002 - Consumer Reports names Prius “Best Driving Green”
2002 - Womanmotorist.com Reader’s Choice Award in Eco Car segment.
2004 - All-new, second-generation Prius is introduced.
2004 - Motor Trend Magazine names Prius “Car of the Year”
2004 - “North American Car of the Year”; “Car of the Year,” Motor Trend
2004 - “10 Best Cars,” Car and Driver Magazine
2004 - “Ten Best Engines,” Ward’s Auto World
2004 - “Design of the Year,”Automobile Magazine
2004 - “25 Best Products of the Year,” Fortune Magazine
2004 - “Best of What’s New,” Popular Science Magazine
2004 - Driver’s Choice Award “Best Eco-Friendly,” Motor Week
2004 - “Top Picks for 2004” Green Car, Consumer Reports
2004 - Best Engineered Vehicle for 2004, Automotive Engineering International
2004 - Awarded a Gold in the 2004 Industrial Design Excellence Awards
2004 - “Consumers’ Most Significant Vehicle of the Year for 2004,” Consumer Reports
2005 - Consumer Reports “Most Satisfying Vehicle” – Small Car, April 2005 issue
2005 - Minor changes to standard equipment.
2005 - “Best Car Value Under $23,000,” IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value of the Year Award
2005 - Consumer Reports “Top Pick” – Green Car, “Most Reliable” – Hybrid, listed as “Best
Vehicles for $25,000 or Less” – Cars; Kelly Blue Book’s “2006 Best Resale Value” – Hatchback
2006 - “Greener Choices 2006” and “Best of 2006,” American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
2006 - “Best Value in America” for Midsize Cars under $23,000, Vincentric
2007 - Touring Edition is introduced
2007 - Given the “Editor’s Choice Award,” Cars.com.
2007 - “Best Deal Award,” Cars.com – Easy Being Green category.
2007 - Named “Top Pick” in Green Car category by Consumer Reports.
2007 - “Best Car Value Under $23,000,” Kelly Blue Book
2007 - “Best Green Cars,” Bars.com
2008 - A Standard Package replaces the Base Package in 2008 Prius
2008 - Named “Most Satisfying Vehicle Overall” by Consumer Reports
2008 - Awarded number one in “Top 10 Green Cars” by Kelly Blue Book
2009 - Named top ten winner for “Best Resale Value” by Kelley Blue Book
2009 - “Best Car Value Under $24,000,” IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value of the Year Award
2009 - “Best Bets,” Cars.com
2010 - All-new, third-generation Prius is introduced.

The Toyota Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, was a breakthrough in combining an efficient, powerful gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine and a clean, quiet electric motor. Configured as a stylish, roomy, five-passenger family sedan, the Prius went on sale in the U.S. in August, 2000 with an MSRP of $19,995.

Prius carried an EPA label fuel economy rating of 52 miles per gallon city and 45 highway, and an SULEV (super ultra low emission vehicle) certification - about 75 percent cleaner than ULEV and nearly 90 percent cleaner than LEV for smog forming exhaust gases.

Offered initially in one trim level, standard equipment on the Prius includes ABS brakes, climate-control air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, an AM/FM/cassette stereo system, an eight-year/100,000-mile battery and hybrid system warranty. Prius also comes with complementary seven-day/24-hour roadside assistance and three-year basic maintenance programs.

The 2002 Prius carried over unchanged with the exception of four new factory options - cruise control, daytime running lights, SRS side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger and DVD-based navigation system. Two new exterior colors were added, Brilliant Blue Pearl and Blue Moon Pearl.

The Prius remained unchanged for the 2003 model year. For exterior colors, Blue Moon Pearl was discontinued and Black became available.

For 2004, the all-new second-generation Toyota Prius gas/electric hybrid vehicle featured significantly more power and performance than the previous model, as well as best-in-class fuel economy and best-in-market emissions performance.

Larger and better in every metric of comparison, Prius launched Toyota’s second generation of gas/electric hybrid technology and is the first hybrid vehicle available to provide the room, comfort and features of a midsize sedan.

The 2004 Prius was the first Toyota product to employ Hybrid Synergy Drive, the latest in hybrid powertrain technology. The new system produces more power from both the gasoline engine and the electric motor, giving the new Prius acceleration comparable to a 4-cylinder midsize car.

Like the original Toyota Hybrid System (THS) employed in the previous model, Hybrid Synergy Drive is defined as a full hybrid system. Unlike competitive systems currently on the market, the full hybrid system is capable of operating in gas or electric modes, as well as a mode that combines the power of the gas engine and electric motor.

The Prius entered 2005 with just minor change.

The 2006 Prius received freshened front and rear lamps, advanced airbags, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and four new exterior colors: Magnetic Gray, Barcelona Red, Silver Metallic, and Silver Pine Mica. In addition, a leather-trim interior and steering wheel, rear camera and MP3-media capability and universal mini-jack connector became available. A new Touring Edition model for 2007 offered a more engaging driving experience. In addition, the 2007 Prius gained standard driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, which were previously optional.

The 2008 Prius received a detail change: a Standard Package replaced the Base Package. This deleted cruise control, tonneau cover, wheel trim ring, heated mirrors and seat-back pocket.

For 2009, the Prius carries over unchanged.

For 2010, the all-new third-generation Toyota Prius gas/electric hybrid vehicle featured significantly more power and performance with a bold and aggressive new design, true midsize comfort and convenience, leading edge technology, as well as world-class fuel economy.

What does it mean?

Prius is Latin for “to go before,” suggesting it is a predecessor of cars to come.

Where is it built?

The first-generation Prius was built at the Motomachi Plant in Toyota City, Japan. The second-generation is built at Tsutsumi Plant also in Toyota City, Japan and Toyota Auto Body in Aichi, Japan.


Series Chronology
1983 - Introduced as replacement for Corona.
1983-1994 - Among “Best Buys” by Consumers Digest.
1985 - “Most Trouble-Free Car in America,” Consumer's Digest.
1987 - Second generation introduced.
1987 - All Camrys powered by 2.0L DOHC engines.
1987 - Introduction of All-Trac to Camry line.
1987 - Introduction of Camry wagon.
1987 - Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (TMM) announced.
1988 - First year of U.S.-built Camrys.
1988 - V6 added to Camry line.
1988-1990 - Rated “Most Trouble-Free Compact Car,” by Consumer's Digest.
1990 - Family Circle “Family Car of the Year.”
1990 - TMM receives J.D. Power Gold Plant Award.
1990 - Named “Best in Class” in Initial Quality by J.D. Power & Associates.
1990 - Among “Top Ten Models in Initial Quality,” J.D. Power & Associates.
1991 - TMM receives J.D. Power Silver Plant Award.
1991 - Among “Top Ten Models in Initial Quality,” J.D. Power & Associates.
1992 - Third generation introduced.
1992 - Wins Family Circle “Family Car of the Year.”
1992 - New Camry moves to mid-size classification.
1992 - Among “Top Ten Models in Initial Quality,” J.D. Power & Associates.
1992 - Among “Ten Best Cars,” Car and Driver.
1992 - “Import Car of the Year,” Automundo Magazine.
1992-1993 - Camry ranks in Top-10 in Initial Quality, J.D. Power.
1993 - Coupe model introduced.
1993 - TMM receives J.D. Power Gold Plant Award.
1993 - Named “Best in Price-Class,” J.D. Power.
1993 - Among “Ten Best Cars,” Car and Driver.
1993 - Named “All Star” by Automobile Magazine.
1993-1994 - “Family Car of the Year” Sedan Finalist, Family Circle.
1994 - All-aluminum V6 engine introduced.
1994 - TMM receives J.D. Power Gold Plant Award.
1994 - “Top Ten Models in Initial Quality,” J.D. Power & Associates.
1994 - “Best Overall Value” – Subcompact/Wagon over $15,000, Intellichoice
1994 - “Best Overall Value” – Compact Class over $16,500, Intellichoice
1995 - Minor front and rear fascia changes.
1996 - “Best Buy in Family Car Segment,” Consumer’s Digest.
1996 - “Best of What’s New,” Popular Science
1997 - Coupe and Wagon discontinued.
1997 - Fourth generation introduced.
1997 - Camry is best-selling-car in America for both ’97 model and calendar year
1997 - Among “Best Buys,” Consumer’s Digest
1997 - “Best Family Sedan,” Consumer Reports
1997 - Among “Most Reliable Used Vehicles, MY ‘89-95,” Consumer Reports
1997 - Among “Ten Best Cars,” Car and Driver
1997 - Named “Automobile All Star,” Automobile Magazine
1997 - “Golden Wheel Award Vehicle of the Year,” African Americans on Wheels
1997 - “Total Quality Award – Compact Car,” Strategic Vision, Inc.
1998 - Camry Solara sport coupe is introduced for ’99 Model Year.
1998 - Camry is best-selling car in America for second consecutive year
1998 - Among “Best Buys,” Consumer’s Digest
1999 - “Best Passenger Car in Initial Quality,” J.D. Power
1999 - Among “Best Buys,” Consumer’s Digest
1999 - Rated “A Best Overall Value in Midsize Class,” IntelliChoice, Inc.
Complete Car Cost Guide
1999 - Camry is best-selling car in America for third consecutive year
2000 - “Best Buy,” Consumer’s Digest
2000 - Among Consumer Guide’s Best Buy Midsize Car
2000 - Among “Best Picks for Safety,” Money Magazine
2000 - “Best Family Car,” Consumer Reports
2000 - Camry is best-selling car in America for fourth consecutive year
2001 - Special “Gallery Series” edition available on the Camry LE
2001 - AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Score (VSS) award for Mid-Size Car
2001 - AutoWeek’s America’s Best Award
2001 - Among Consumer Guide’s Best Buy Midsize Car
2002 - Fifth generation Camry introduced
2002 - “Best Family Sedan” in Money Magazine’s Car Guide 2002 (March 2002 Issue)
2002 - Received the International Carwash Association Most Washable Car award
2002 - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – “Best Pick” rating for 40-mile per hour front offset crash test
2002 - Detroit News names Camry “Car of the Year.”
2002 - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) names Camry “Best Pick.”
2002 - International Car Wash Association award for “Most Washable Car.”
2002 - Camry is best-selling car in America for fifth time in the last six years
2003 - Beginning in January 2003, Camry receives a PZEV engine for models with four-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions sold in California.
2003 - Camry is best-selling car in America for sixth time in the last seven years (CY 2003)
2003 - Among Consumer Guide’s Best Buy Midsize Car
2004 - Changes to engine and drivetrain for XLE and SE models; Limited Edition Camry
2004 - “Best Bet,” The Car Book 2004
2004 - Camry listed as “Best Sedan” and Camry LE named “Best Vehicles for $25,000 or Less,” car – Consumer Reports
2004 - “Best Cars for Families” sedans category, AAA/Parents magazine
2004 - Among Consumer Guide’s Best Buy Midsize Car
2005 - 5-speed automatic transmission and VSC available for 4-cylinder models; ABS standard for all; minor style freshening.
2005 - Among Consumer Guide’s 2005 Best Buy Midsize Cars
2005 - 4-cylinder Camry on Consumer Reports list for “Most Reliable,” Sedans, Camry LE 4-cylinder and V6 listed as “Best Vehicles for $25,000 or Less,” Cars
2005 - Camry is best-selling car in America for the fourth year in a row and eighth time in the past nine years.
2006 - Among Consumer Guide’s 2006 Best Buy Midsize Cars
2006 - Car Book 2006 “Best Bet”
2007 - Sixth generation Camry introduced
2007 - Camry Hybrid is first Toyota hybrid to be built in the U.S.
2007 - Camry Hybrid named “Eco-Friendly Car of the Year” by Cars.com Lifestyle Awards
2007 - Camry Hybrid named “Best Environmentally-Friendly Car for Women” by FAMA-AUTOS
2007 - Among MotorWeek “Drivers’ Choice” award winners
2007 - Camry Hybrid named “Cars.com Lifestyle Award Winner”Most Eco-Friendly Car of the Year category.
2007 - Camry given the “Editor’s Choice Award” by Cars.com – Commuters category.
2007 - Given the “Editor’s Choice Award” by Cars.com – First Car: Solid Choices under $20,000 category.
2007 - Given the “Editor’s Choice Award” by Cars.com – Small Families category.
2007 - Camry Hybrid named one of the “Top Five Green Vehicles for 2007” by Green Car Journal Online.
2007 - Camry named one of the “Best Cars for Families,” AAA/Parents Magazine.
2007 - “Car of the Year,” Motor Trend
2007 - “Hybrid of the Year,” Autobytel
2007 - “Best New Midsize Car,” Autobytel
2007 - “Green Car of the Year,” Green Car Journal
2007 - “International Car of the Year,” Road & Travel
2007 - “Best of the Best,” (Hybrid Version) The Detroit News
2008 - Camry named “Best-Selling Automobile” by Los Angeles Business Journal
2008 - Consumer Choice Award – “#1 Overall Most Requested New Vehicle” by Autobytel/MyRide.com
2008 - Consumer Choice Award – “Most Requested New Passenger Car” by Autobytel/MyRide.com
2008 - Consumer Reports “Most Satisfying” – Family Cars Category
2008 - Named top hybrid car for 2008 by U.S. News and World Report
2009 - U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 Best Car for the money award
2009 - Named Best New Family Vehicle by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com
2009 - “Best Bets,” Cars.com
2010 – 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission; restyle front and rear.
Introduced in 1983 to replace the Corona, the Camry soon took its place as Toyota's value- and volume-leader.  Camry was introduced as a front-wheel drive vehicle available in either four-door sedan or five-door hatchback configuration. It won acclaim from Consumer's Digest in 1986 as a "Best Buy", and has remained on the list since then.

In 1986, Toyota broke ground on an all-new production facility in Georgetown, Ky., Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (TMM), with the first U.S.-built Camry rolling out of the plant in 1988.

The 1987 model year saw the introduction of the second generation Camry. With it, Toyota also introduced a new 2.0L 16-valve four-cylinder engine, followed in 1988 by a new 2.5L 24-valve V6. The 1987 model year also saw the release of a station wagon to replace the hatchback, and the option of All-Trac, Toyota's full-time all-wheel-drive system, on all models.

Camry grew up for 1992. The third-generation model was larger in every dimension than the previous model, and Camry became classified as "midsize." Engines were now 2.2L four-cylinder units (producing almost as much power as the previous V6, but with four-cylinder economy), and 3.0L V-6s. Due to dwindling sales and high engineering costs, Toyota dropped the All-Trac model. Domestic production soared and TMM became the sole production facility world-wide for the Camry station wagon.

Safety had always been an important consideration for the Camry, and in 1994, it was available with dual front airbags as standard equipment. The vehicle also met 1997 side-impact standards three years before it was required to.

1994 also saw the addition of the U.S.-built Camry coupe to the lineup. Available with both four- and six-cylinder engines and in DX, LE and SE trim levels, it brought a new audience to Camry.

All-new for 1997, the new Camry was quieter, lighter and more powerful with better ride quality and improved handling.

Both of Camry’s engines received horsepower and torque increases. The new CE base-grade (replacing DX nomenclature) reintroduced the five-speed manual V6.

With an additional two inches in wheelbase, a lowered beltline and swept-back windshield, the 1997 Camry’s cabin was more spacious and inviting. NVH was reduced and new convenience features included separate rear headrests, dual rear cupholders, front overhead storage console, a glove box volume increase of 29% and a second power port for cellular phones and other electronic equipment. The power mast antenna was eliminated on the LE and XLE models and replaced with an on-glass antenna.

The 1997 Camry was the safest Camry yet, meeting or exceeding all current and foreseeable crash test criteria for North America, Europe and Asia. New safety features included enhanced impact protection, a three-point seatbelt to the center rear seat, and an optional Child Restraint System (CRS) with fabric seats. Traction control, offered for the first time on a front-engine front-wheel drive Toyota, was an available option for 1997. ABS was now standard on all models except the four-cylinder CE, in which it could be ordered as a low-cost option.

For 1998, both four- and six-cylinder engines (with the exception of the five-speed/V6 combination) were rated as Low Emission Vehicles with the EPA. Other changes to the line were the introduction of the redesigned sound system head units found in all 1998 Toyotas and two new colors.

For 2000, the Camry sedan received exterior styling enhancements with a new front fascia that features a new grille and bumper design and multi-reflector headlamps. Camry’s styling featured new rear combination taillights with wider horizontal reflectors and a new bumper design for a smoother appearance. Camry’s side protection molding was also redesigned, with XLE models adding a chrome accent. The exterior enhancements were capped off with new 15-inch wheel covers for the LE grade and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels for the XLE V6.

The interior received convenience upgrades in the area of audio systems, new fabric seats and value packages that include leather-trimmed interiors and power seats. The interior also received simulated wood trim as standard equipment.

For 2001, the Camry offered a special “Gallery Series” edition on the Camry LE grade. It featured a two-tone exterior paint, upgraded two-tone seat fabric, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, carbon fiber trimmed center stack and shift plate, chrome accent door lock levers and HVAC vents, chrome-tipped exhaust, “Gallery Series” badging, five-spoke aluminum wheels and chrome painted LE wheel covers.

The 2002 Camry was completely redesigned. It featured the first all-new platform in 10 years, making it roomier, quieter and more powerful. A new SE model grade was available with a sportier look. An all-new 2.4L four-cylinder with variable valve timing (VVT-i) powered the Camry. It generated 157 horsepower and achieved 23/32 mpg city/highway fuel economy. Camry also offered a 3.0L V6 that generated 192 horsepower. The V6 achieved 20/28 mpg city/highway. Both engines were EPA-certified Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV). Three model grades were offered - LE, SE and XLE. A DVD-based navigation system was newly available. This GPS system had a faster calculating time than all of its competitors in the U.S. market.

The 2003 Camry entered the new model year unchanged, with the exception of standard fog lamps on the XLE grade and available power adjustable pedals on all trim levels with automatic transmission.

The 2004 Camry received a few upgrades to select models. The SE V6 model received a new 3.3L V6 engine with VVT-i that produced 225 horsepower and 222 lb-ft of torque. XLE and SE models became available with a five-speed super electronically-controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (SECT-i). A Limited Edition Camry LE model featured a unique exterior as well as interior enhancements.

The 2005 Camry featured freshened exterior styling with redesigned headlights, taillights, grille and wheels. The interior receives several enhancements, including Optitron instrument gauge meters, and, for the LE model, chrome interior door handles and gearshift base. The LE and XLE grades featured new seat fabric, while leather seating surfaces were standard on the XLE V6 model.

On four-cylinder models, a five-speed automatic transmission replaced the four-speed automatic as an option. Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) became standard on all models, and four-cylinder models could for the first time be equipped with the optional Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

The 2006 Camry was a carry-over with the exception of navigation becoming available as a stand-alone option on SE V6 models.

The sixth generation, Camry was redesigned for the 2007 model year. It featured a longer wheelbase and wider track for a comfortable ride and roomy interior.

The Camry was available in four grades, CE, LE, SE and XLE and for the first time as a hybrid model featuring Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

The CE, LE, XLE and Camry Hybrid rode on 16-inch steel or aluminum wheels, while the sporty SE got unique aluminum 17-inch wheels. Models with the V6 engine have dual exhaust with chrome tips.

Standard features on CE models included air conditioning with a pollen filter, power windows and door locks, cruise control, Optitron gauges, tire-pressure monitor system and six-speaker 160-watt digital AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack.

SE models had sport-tuned suspension calibrated for a firmer ride and better handling, black honeycomb-style grille, ground-effects body enhancement, smoked tint halogen headlamps, unique sport-trimmed interior and amber-colored Optitron gauges.

XLE content included upgraded dual-zone automatic climate control with steering-wheel controls, a premium 440-watt JBL audio system with Bluetooth® technology for hands-free calling, and reclining rear seats. Four-cylinder XLE models come standard with special seat fabric designed to be gentle on the skin.

The Camry Hybrid was certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). Its heating and air conditioning featured Plasmacluster ionizer technology which helped reduce airborne mold spores, microbe, fungi, odor, germs and bacteria inside the passenger cabin.

With the exception of updated darker wood trim on XLE grade cars, the 2008 Camry was carried over from 2007.

For 2009, the Camry was largely carried over with the exception of a change of an optional wheel finish on the LE grade. CE grade was renamed Camry grade.

For 2010, the Camry sedan is receiving exterior styling enhancements with a new front fascia that features a new grille and bumper design and larger projection headlamps. Camry’s styling features new rear combination taillights a new bumper design. The exterior enhancements are capped off with new alloys for XLE and SE and new wheel covers for LE.

The interior is receiving auto up/down power window with jam protection on all four door, available USB port for auxiliary music source and Bluetooth on LE and SE models, available Smart Key on XLE four-cylinder and SE with automatic transmission. Camry Hybrid is receiving enhanced meter cluster and Fraichir cloth seating surfaces.

What does it mean?

Camry: From the Japanese Kan-Muri, meaning "crown".

Where is it built?

All Camrys are built at the Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota City, Japan, and at TMMK in Georgetown, Ky.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

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