Yesterday, sources close to the matter stated that Toyota plans to release an all new medium sized hybrid sedan next July.
The source states that this vehicle will be both bigger and more luxurious than the current Prius. Tentatively called the SAI, it will be marketed as Toyota's version of the Lexus HS250h. The vehicle will use the same basic structure, but have a different exterior and interior design.
An unnamed source familiar with the development said, "The drive will feel lighter."
The SAI should have a starting price between the HS250h at 3.95 million yen and the new Prius at 2.05 million yen.
The addition of another hybrid model fits in with the recent announcement by Toyota President Akio Toyoda stating that the company plans to diversify its hybrid products in response to increased hybrid demand caused by large government subsidies.
In addition to the midsize hybrid sedan, Toyota plans to introduce a cheaper and smaller hybrid based on the Vitz model and a minivan based hybrid sometime in 2011.
In order to boost hybrid production, Toyota will need to increase its battery production capacity or secure additional sources for batteries as recent news states that their main supplier, Panasonic, is having difficulty meeting the battery demand of the current Toyota hybrid models.