Toyota on Monday began selling a new Prius model in Japan, the smallest Toyota hybrid released to date. Known as the Aqua compact hybrid in Japan the same vehicle will sell as the Prius C in the United States and is currently selling for a cost of 1.69 million Yen ($21,700).
Toyota hopes to sell 12,000 Aquas a month in Japan as they continue to expand their Prius lineup to meet increasing global demand for the company which is expected to reach 20 percent in 2012.
The vehicle is small by any standards measuring just 3.9 meters (12.8 feet) compared to the Prius which measures 4.48 meters in length, however the vehicle still has as much leg room as a Corolla but costs 22 percent less than the standard Prius.
According to the company the new vehicle can achieve 35 kilometers per liter (locally), compared to 30 kilometers per liter for the hybrid version of the Fit.
The company hopes that they can recuperate at least part of the Prius sales they’ve lost in Japan over the last six months after a March 11 earthquake and following tsunami cut out 51 percent of their sales volume. The U.S. market in the meantime has already increased by 49% in November 2011 compared to the same period of 2010.
The automobile manufacturer will also begin rolling out a wagon version of the Prius in May and will introduce a plug-in version which can run approximately 23 kilometers on it’s lithium-ion battery before switching to gasoline, the former will be available in Japan sometime in January 2012 and in the U.S. by March.
Here’s a teaser video for the new Toyota Prius C:
Would you be willing to buy a small Toyota hybrid vehicle if it meant better gas mileage and a cheaper sticker price?