Toyota unveils latest hybrid model

Toyota is upping the ante in its competition with rival Japanese car maker Honda to see which can gain the greatest chunk of the hybrid market.

The latest Prius model unveiled by Toyota has already attracted 80,000 advance orders, the company said. It added that it hopes to sell up to 400,000 cars a year around the world.

While the Prius is the best-selling petrol-electric hybrid in the world, with 1.256 million sales globally since its introduction in 1997, Honda's cheaper Insight is rapidly gaining ground and was ranked as the top-selling vehicle in Japan following its launch just two months earlier.

Launching the new Prius at a Tokyo showroom, Toyota's new president Akio Toyoda commented: "We are resting the future of cars in this model."

The company is hoping to sell 10,000 of the new cars every month in Japan, where prices will start at about £14,250. It will also continue to sell the cheaper old-style Prius and is aiming for sales of 2,000 a month.

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