Today we learned just how determined Toyota is to integrate a more powerful and emotional design language into their lineup. The next-generation Toyota Prius, which was originally due out in early 2015, will be the first car to showcase that new style.
Unfortunately, we’ve learned today that the original design for the Japanese automaker’s iconic hybrid hatchback didn’t meet the cut, and so the launch of the next-generation Prius has been delayed by almost a year. If everything goes smoothly from here on out, we’ll have the new Prius by this time next year, but nothing is guaranteed just yet.
The news comes from an interview between Automotive News and Toyota’s executive VP, Mitsuhisa Kato, plus a couple other unnamed execs cited throughout the article. According to insiders, this is how the decision to delay the new Prius was made:
The chief engineer in charge of developing the next Toyota Prius brought the original design for the hybrid hatchback to an executive meeting late last year. That’s when Kato, backed by the opinion of Mr. Akio Toyoda himself, rejected the design for not meeting the cut. The report indicates that there were several other issues with the original car’s design outside of pure aesthetic appeal, but at the same time that there was no way they’d release a new Prius that didn’t have a feeling like a “fresh breeze”.
Toyota originally planned to promote the next-generation previous throughout 2014. However, it was only in April of this year that the design was approved at a corporate level. That’s why we’ve only seen one single concept that heralds the Prius, and even that was an indirect application. We’re talking about, of course, the Toyota C-HR Concept pictured above, which we saw earlier this year at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. We know that the C-HR previewed a hybrid crossover (the Prius will remain a hatchback; don’t worry), but the “diamond architecture” of the concept will carry over to the new Prius.
We certainly don’t blame Toyota for taking their time with this one – not only is the Prius one of their best-selling models with over 1 million units sold in 2013 (for the second year in a row), it’s also the first production model that to utilize Toyota’s new “diamond architecture” design language, which we’re assuming will permeate the rest of the lineup over the next five-ish years. A successful launch for the new Prius would mean that Toyota is succeeding in expanding their appeal to the hipper, more emotionally-driven drivers of today.