Page last updated at 09:00 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 10:00 UK

Toyota unveils new Prius hybrid

Toyoda and Prius
Mr Toyoda unveiled the new third-generation Prius in Tokyo

Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, has revealed the latest revamp of its Prius petrol-electric hybrid in Japan.

The carmaker said it has had 80,000 advance orders in Japan. It is aiming for sales of 400,000 a year globally.

Incoming president Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, said the future of cars rests on this model.

Prius is the world's best-selling hybrid, but Toyota's dominance of the sector has been challenged by rival Honda's cheaper Insight model.

The new Prius gets a combined 50 miles per gallon, compared with 46 mpg for the 2009 model, Toyota said.

It has not yet announced when the new version will be available outside Japan.

Worst loss

The carmaker is pinning its hopes on a new Prius boosting sales, after this month reporting its worst annual loss of 436.94bn yen ($4.4bn; £2.9bn) in the year to 31 March, due to the deepening recession and strong yen.

The Prius, launched in 1997, is now in its third generation.

By the end of April, Toyota said it had sold 1,028,000 of the cars worldwide, more than half of them in North America.

Toyota said its Japan prices for the Prius would start at just over 2m yen, or about £13,800 ($20,900), which is cheaper than the current Prius.

It also announced it will cut the price of the second-generation model on sale now, to 1.89m yen, the same price as Honda's Insight.

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