It’s no longer much of a surprise when it comes to car makers’ focus regarding the hybrid market. Each release promises to be a better performing and more convenient car than any other option on the market. Newest addition to the profile market is Toyota’s Prius C, a.k.a. Aqua compact hybrid.
Revealed earlier this year at the Tokyo Auto Show, Toyota’s Aqua is a compact four-dour, four-seater hatchback that it is said to be a lot more compact, less expensive and better performing than Prius.
The Aqua compact hybrid is set to be marketed as Prius C in the United States market, and will have a selling price of $21,700. The other hybrid from Toyota, Prius, had a lot of success in the U.S. market. According to Autodata Corp., U.S. deliveries of the Prius rose 49 percent last month as compared to one year ealier.
However, despite this market’s interest regarding fuel efficient vehicles at entry level selling tags, Toyota’s main focus is Japan. Toyota has been having a difficult time in fighting competitors such as Honda Motor Co. over the past few months in Japan. Honda’s Fit compact car outsold Toyota’s Prius in the first half of this year in the Japanese market.
Toyota’s hopes lays with the new Aqua hybrid, the car maker is certain it will finally get the edge. The company is hoping to sell 12,000 Aqua units per month in Japan. Mamoru Kato, auto analyst with Tokai Tokyo Research Center, said: “The Aqua shows Toyota is increasing efforts to boost sales in the domestic market. Toyota raised the price of the Prius to a more profitable level, so the Aqua serves to meet demand for smaller, cheaper hybrids”.
The Aqua model measures 3.9 meters in length and has a 1.5 liter DOHC four cylinder engine. All in all, the car is smaller than the 4.48 meters Prius, but as stated by chief engineer Satoshi Ogiso, it has just as much legroom as a Corolla compact.
By 2015, Toyota aims to launch new 10 gasoline electric cars and also offer a fuel-sipping option across its entire line-up around 2020.