For a long time now Toyota has enjoyed a virtual monopoly over the hybrid market. Sure, there was the first-generation Honda Insight and the current Civic Hybrid, but those models never really posed much of a threat to the dominant force of Toyota and its Prius and Lexus hybrids.
However, that's all set to change. Automakers around the globe have begun to embrace hybrid technology in greater numbers, and everyone from Chevrolet to Mercedes-Benz and BMW are on the verge of releasing their own petrol-electric models. Honda too is getting back on the electron-assisted bandwagon in a big way, with the second generation Insight hybrid due to go on sale early next year.
Toyota, however, is apparently hatching a cunning plan to ensure the Prius stays on top of its Japanese rival.
According to Auto Express, the big T intends to sell both the current-generation Prius and the next-gen model side-by-side in Toyota showrooms. Why? Because the new Insight is expected to sell for significantly less than the new Prius, and the big wigs at Toyota believe that heavily discounting the old model will be enough to tempt prospective Honda buyers away from the Insight and into the waiting arms of Japan's largest automaker - and perhaps into the driver's seat of the new Prius as well.
It's all rumour at this stage though, and Toyota has denied that it'll be employing this tactic once the new Prius launches. We'll find out for sure sometime after January next year, when the next generation Prius launches at the Detroit Motor Show.