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A Shot Across The Bow In The Hybrid Wars

  • USA Today, Wednesday, April 22, 2009 10:32 AM
James R. Healey says the "hybrid war" is officially underway with Toyota's announcement Tuesday that its Prius gasoline-electric hybrid will start at $21,750, which is just $1,280 more than the base price on the cheapest Honda Insight. Toyota spokeswoman Ming-Jou Chen says its better-equipped, mid-level version will make up about two-thirds of Prius sales, but the so-called "Prius I" base model "will be out there."

The Prius is also bigger, faster, more fuel-efficient and has a broader array of options. Toyota's aggressive move underscores how vicious the auto market has become but Honda spokesman Sage Marie notes that its rival gave no details about the cheapest Prius while revealing extensive details about more-expensive versions.

"I think there's enough room in the hybrid market for both," Marie says. He believes that would be true even if Toyota eventually offers a hybrid version of the small Yaris, which it says it's is considering as a way to undercut Insight pricing.



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