The first generation Prius proved the mass production viability and market appeal of this unique vehicle in the Japanese, United States, and European markets, paving the way for distribution in other markets with the introduction of the latest generation model.
This latest Prius comes to South Africa just one year after its release in the major markets for this product.
The South African model follows the European specification closely and offers a stylish appearance together with a spacious interior, a high level of interior appointments, performance to match a vehicle in the 2-litre class, and the appeal of its inherent eco-friendly nature.
"Toyota has taken a bold step in introducing the cutting edge eco-friendly technology, represented by the Prius and its Hybrid Synergy Drive, in South Africa," says Toyota South Africa President and CEO, Johan van Zyl.
"With the full support of TMC we feel the time is right for South African motorists to buy into the concept of eco-friendly vehicles, albeit on a small scale initially.
"The Prius is primarily designed as a "city car" and is at its best in an urban environment rather than out on the open road and it is in this urban environment that it will best deliver on the promise of superb fuel efficiency with minimal emissions.
The flexibility of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive does however make the Prius quite suitable for open road motoring as well and a superb cruise control system makes this type of motoring a relaxed experience at normal open road cruising speeds.
"The urban design focus of this vehicle and the low volume nature of the product have resulted in us selecting a core group of 12 Prius dealers in major metropolitan areas. Quite frankly we do not expect the Prius to have any appeal in rural applications and it will not be marketed in these areas.
"All 12 of the nominated dealers will offer full service support and have already completed an intensive training course on the product.
This training is now being extended to non-Prius dealers as well so that they will be able to offer technical support in the event of a problem encountered out of reach of a full Prius dealer.
"While the Prius technology is well proven globally ? Toyota has sold over 200 000 of these wonderful vehicles already ? it does represent a new technology in South Africa.
"While our research shows a high level of interest, actual market response to the Prius in South Africa contains an element of the unknown. Mindful of this Toyota South Africa will initially make the Prius available only on a full maintenance rental basis, with the rental administered by Toyota Financial Services. There will be no outright purchase option available.
"In this regard we have followed the example set by Toyota Motor Corporation when the Prius was first introduced in Japan in 1997. At this time the majority of Prius deliveries were made on a rental basis. This approach provides a high level of security for the Prius "owner" in a largely untested market environment.
"No initial deposit is payable (for those who qualify) and at the end of the 48 month rental period the vehicle reverts to Toyota South Africa.
"The monthly rental cost will be approximately R4 987 inclusive of VAT. This rental cost is linked to the prime lending rate and is based on a published recommended retail selling price of R269 000 including VAT.
"The rental package includes all maintenance items as per the Toyota book of life, tyres for example are excluded. The rental agreement covers a 120 000 km allowance during the rental period.
Comprehensive insurance cover is a requirement of the rental agreement and TFS will offer this cover at competitive rates to compliment the rental package through Toyota Insurance.
"The introduction of the Prius in South Africa is further evidence of Toyota South Africa's commitment to the preservation of our natural resources and a sound ecological management policy in line with that prescribed by Toyota Motor Corporation Japan.
"We believe this sophisticated product from Toyota will play an important role in heightening eco-awareness in South Africa as it has done in other parts of the world."
Barloworld Tygervalley 021 910 8000
East Rand Toyota 011 841 1700
Gateway Toyota 031 539 3305
Helderberg Toyota 021 854 5101
Imperial Motors Strijdompark 011 792 1448
Market Toyota Claremont 021 674 1170
McCarthy Toyota Brooklyn 012 460 2223
McCarthy Toyota Greyville 031 308 7300
McCarthy Toyota Midrand 011 315 3261
Monument Toyota Constantia 011 675 0400
Monument Toyota West Rand 011 279 3600
Rand Stadium Toyota 011 435 1270
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