Tokyo, Japan – Toyota has announced the all-new Prius is now on sale in Japan. The model will go on sale in Canada this spring.

The new Prius features a hybrid system than is more than 90 per cent new, and comes with four driving modes to match the requirements of specific driving environments, along with a solar-powered ventilation system.

Since becoming the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in 1997, the Prius has been sold in more than 40 countries and regions, with cumulative sales as of March 31, 2009 exceeding 1.25 million units. The new model will be released in stages in more than 80 countries and regions, as part of an effort to further popularize hybrid vehicles worldwide.

Toyota has set a monthly sales target of 10,000 units for Japan. In that market, the Prius is also available with “Welcab,” a lift-up front passenger seat that slides down and to the outside of the vehicle as an aid to people with disabilities. Four Welcab models have been designed, including two that are equipped with a device that electrically stows a wheelchair on the roof using a special-purpose remote control.

Toyota will also market the EX Prius, a new grade of the second-generation Prius aimed mainly at fleet customers in Japan. Available in three colours with a grey interior and colour-coded grille, it will feature the same basic safety and comfort elements as the consumer Prius, but hubcaps, front fog lights and other equipment are now dealer options. The company plans a target of 2,000 per month.

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