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PHOTO CAPTION: Toyota Prius 'V' will go on sale in 2011.

New Prius Family May Lead to Price Reductions

Company sees broadening of image from 'leading edge' to 'friendly' as attracting wider range of buyers, helping lower costs.

Published: 31-Jan-2011

Toyota Motor Corp. may lower the price of its Prius gasoline-electric hybrid car in Japan as the brand image of the nation’s best-selling model changes, Nomura Research Institute Ltd. said.

Because of its high sales volume, car buyers are now more likely to think of the Prius as a “friendly” brand than a “leading edge” one, according to a survey conducted by Fumikazu Kitagawa of Nomura’s global automotive practice. As a result, it’s competing with customers who may be drawn to cheaper cars with a strong “friendly” image, such as Honda Motor Co.’s Fit compact, he said.

“As the Prius becomes more of a mass-market car, it may be time to think about lowering the price,” said Kitagawa, who polled 1,972 car owners in November.

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