The new 2010 Toyota Prius is expected to hit showroom floors in June.  With the economic downturn, the new Honda Insight coming to market, and gas prices near $2, you may think that Toyota would be worried about sales of the new Prius.  However, Toyota execs are not worried.  Toyota believes that there is enough room in the market for both the 2010 Prius and the new Honda Insight.  Toyota expects the new Prius to bring 100,000 buyers into showroom during the last half of the year and to put an end to the falling sales of the current Prius.

Why is Toyota optimistic?  Toyota cites that the Prius and the Insight fall into different product categories and draw the attention of different buyers.  The new Prius is larger than its predecessor, boasts 50 miles per gallon efficiency, and offers more upscale amenities than both its preceding model and the Honda Insight.  The 2010 Prius has a combined cabin and cargo space of 115.6 cubic feet, while the Insight offers only 100.9 cubic feet.  The Prius is marketed in the mid-size vehicle category whereas the Insight is considered a compact vehicle.

Further distinctions amoung the Prius and Insight include a gas mileage advantage for the Prius.  The Prius is rated at 50 mpg city, 49 mpg highway, and 50 mpg combined driving.  The Insight offers numbers of 40 mpg city, 43 mpg highway, and 41 mpg combined driving.  Aside from a size advantage, and a more fuel efficient powertrain, the Prius also offers an improved interior, and an upgraged ride and handling over the previous model.

 Toyota believes that the Prius will be considered an upmarket alternative to the Insight.  The Insight is set to have a starting price of under $20,000, while the Prius will likely be priced around $23,000.  In order to set the Prius apart from the Insight, Toyota will offer several high tech options.  All Prius models will have three driving modes including EV for electric only driving, ECO to cut down gas consumption by limiting throttle inputs, and Power for full use of the gasoline engine.  Toyota will also makes options such as a solar roof panel that powers cooling fans for the interior of the vehicle, radar cruise control, and a lane departure system.  Equipped with all of the high tech options, the Prius will likely be priced over $30,000.  This price separates it froms those considering the Insight.  Toyota believes that the Prius and the Insight fit into different vehicle catgeory, with the Prius being of interest to a more upmarket audience.

Toyota believes that they will be capable of selling 100,000 new Prius' by the end of 2010 and more than 180,000 new Prius in its first full year of sales in 2011.  Market analysts believe this to be a lofty goal with the current economy and lack of new car buyers and they also believe that the Insight will provide stiff competition to the Prius due to its low price.

Toyota will launch a massive marketing campaign to kick off sales of the 2010 Prius.  Prius adds will be on network and cable TV, on the radio, in print and on the internet.  Currently, Toyota has kicked off a mini-marketing campiagn uses sources such as Twitter and internet forums to increase interest in the new Prius.

The current Prius has been the dominating force in hybrid vehicles.  Sales of the current Prius account for more than half of the sales of all hybrid models sold in the last six year.  Soon we will see if the new 2010 Prius can hold on with a similar percentage of overall sales.  New hybrids and increasing competition from other automakers may make sales goals unobtainable for the new Prius.