The rumors of Toyota starting a separate Prius brand appear to be coming true - here
Feel free to accuse me of Toyota bashing but I don't really see the point of this move. People already know the name Prius and they associate it with ONE car made by Toyota. Releasing a sub brand with the name Prius could easily cause confusion. Plus, what would be so horrible about releasing multiple hybrids (like they ALREADY do) under the Toyota badge? People already associate Toyota with hybrids so it isn't like they really need to do anything more than they already are to build up public knowledge of their hybrids. To add to the confusion Lexus will presumably keep their hybrids badged as Lexuses. So Toyota, the brand people credit (wrongly) with the invention of hybrid technology, will no longer have hybrids in their lineup but Lexus and Prius will? That's just dumb.
They plan on making it a Scion like dealer network - ie. all Prius dealers will be in existing Toyota dealerships. The problem i see with this is that if it is like Scion not all Toyota dealerships will sell the Prius line up, effectively making the dealer network smaller than if they just kept their hybrids badged as Toyotas.
Toyota will be releasing a Toyota version of the Lexus HS 250h named the Sai
overseas and possibly in the US under the Prius brand. I already think the Lexus HS 250h is a waste - it's really expensive, only averages 35 mpg and is no more luxurious than a loaded Prius or Camry Hybrid. Adding the Sai makes the Lexus even more pointless. The Sai itself seems pointless as well. It will not get the mileage of a Prius, is smaller than a Camry Hybrid but will most likely be priced directly on top of the two. I don't get it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Toyota is heading down the same road that GM headed down - pumping out too many new products, expanding their brand lineup and cutting costs. They've had more recalls recently than in the past and their quality, especially in the interiors, is going down. They are arrogant and complacent - "We're Toyota and people will buy our cars always and forever."