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The Prius wagon in Japan

The 2011 auto show season has brought us Toyota’s somewhat unexpected two-pronged approach to the first additional member of the “Prius family”: the 5-passenger Prius v with a nickel-metal hydride battery hybrid system for North America, and the identically-bodied 7-passenger Prius+ with a lithium-ion battery hybrid system for Europe.

We were left to wonder, however, just what approach Toyota would take for the Japanese Domestic Market. Now, a Nikkei story via Reuters informs us that both versions will be available there. More importantly, the article contains the first pricing predictions we’ve seen for the newest Toyota. While the least expensive current Prius “fastback” in Japan is the Prius “L” with a base price of 2,050,000 yen (just over $24,785 at today’s exchange rate of 82.7 yen per U.S. dollar), they expect the 5-passenger Prius wagon with NiMH batteries to start at 2,350,000 yen ($28,405) and the 7-passenger Prius wagon with Li-ion batteries to start at 3,000,000 yen ($36,255). It is probably that almost $8000 jump in pricing for the third seat and the concominant lithium-ion battery pack that is making Toyota USA hesitate in offering the Prius+ here.

An official English-language Press Release from Toyota Japan also notes that the Prius wagon will go on sale there in late April 2011, ahead of the late summer 2011 U.S. release of Prius v and the “first half of 2012” on-sale date for Prius+ in Europe. Left undisclosed at this point, though, is what name(s) the new Prii will wear in Japan.

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