2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production version road test, San Diego, CA, Jan 2012Enlarge Photo
As every automaker knows, getting Royal endorsement for a particular car or brand can help boost its image.
Normally, such Royal endorsements are limited to luxury or prestige brands, but earlier this week, the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid received its official royal appointment courtesy of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.
An avid car collector and sports car fan, Prince Albert II was presented with the plug-in hybrid yesterday by Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe.
Loaned to His Serene Highness for two months, the car is the very first production Prius Plug-in Hybrid to enter Europe.
It will be used by Prince Albert II in his own private fleet as part of an initiative to encourage the adoption of eco-friendly cars in the Principality.
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production modelEnlarge Photo
Why give a Toyota to a Prince?
We suspect it has something to do with His Serene Highness’ love of Toyota and Lexus cars. Oh, and the custom LS600h Hybrid Landaulet he commissioned Lexus to build for his wedding day.
Admittedly, a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid isn’t as regal as a custom-built hybrid Landaulet, but it doesn’t mean that His Serene Highness is a stranger to hybrid, plug-in and electric cars.
Back in 2009, the famous car-loving Prince was seen behind the wheel of the sexy Electric Venturi Volage sportscar. Last year, he drove a Fisker Karma around a closed Monaco Grand Prix circuit with Fisker founder and lead designer Henrik Fisker in the passenger seat.
We have to admit we’re a little saddened to hear that the 2012 Prius Plug-in hybrid that has just entered royal service is only to do so for a limited time, but with Prince Albert auctioning off a substantial part of his late father’s car collection, there may just be room in the royal fleet for a few more plug-in cars yet.