Toyota Straightens New Prius to ward off Rival Honda 19, 2009) — Toyota rolled out a cheaper, revamped Prius, trying to hike its sales and maintain its lead in fuel-sipping hybrids in the face of growing competition from rival Honda.

rival-hondaJapanese auto giant Toyota Motor plans to sell 10,000 of the third-generation Prius cars a month in Japan, where it has a price tag starting from 2.05 million yen (21,580 dollars), about 12 percent less than the current cheapest model. The new price tag narrows the gap with Honda’s Insight hybrid, which retails for 1.89 million yen.

Toyota’s revamped Prius has solar panels in the roof to power the ventilation system. It has a 1.8-litre petrol engine and Toyota’s first electric-powered water pump.

The company has received pre-launch orders for more than 80,000 third-generation Prius cars, which the company says has a world-beating fuel efficiency of 38.0 kilometres per litre, or 50 miles per gallon. Its predecessor had 46 mpg.

Toyota Motor will also sell a new version of the second-generation Prius with a price on a par with the Insight, which was the top-selling vehicle in Japan in April. It aims to sell 300,000-400,000 Prius cars in total this year worldwide.

Japanese automakers have made strides with hybrid cars — which are powered both by petrol and electricity — because of high oil prices and growing concern about emissions blamed for global warming.

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