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Toyota Announces Formal Plans to Sell Prius Hybrid Vehicle in U.S.

14 July 1998

Toyota Announces Formal Plans to Sell Prius Hybrid Vehicle in U.S.
    TORRANCE, Calif., July 14 -- Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC)
President Hiroshi Okuda announced today that the company will introduce a
Toyota Hybrid System-powered Prius sedan in the U.S. in late 2000.
    "At Toyota, we are actively pursuing many different types of
environmentally friendly technologies, one of which is the Toyota Hybrid
System," Okuda said during a press conference in Tokyo.  "We plan to use the
next two years to further optimize the System for local driving conditions
outside Japan."
    The Toyota Hybrid System incorporates a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an
electric motor.  It operates on electricity at low speeds and switches
automatically to the gasoline engine at higher speeds, depending on load and
driving conditions.  Because of the system's design, Prius is capable of
recharging its battery by routing power from the gasoline engine to an
on-board electric generator and never needs to be plugged in.
    Okuda also announced that plans call for approximately 20,000 Prius
vehicles to be sold in North America and Europe.  When Prius debuts, Toyota
engineers are targeting exhaust emissions that fall into the Super Ultra Low
Emission Vehicle (SULEV) category and fuel economy of approximately 60 miles
per gallon (mpg).
    Prius incorporates all the safety, comfort, drivability, and performance
of a conventional four-door compact sedan.  A long wheelbase with short front
and rear overhangs means outstanding ride and handling, along with interior
packaging that comfortably seats four adults.  Prius was designed at Calty,
Toyota's Southern California design studio.
    Since it went on sale in Japan in December, over 7,700 Prius have been