Toyota reportedly confirmed earlier this month that the Prius brand, which has been synonymous with the idea of a hybrid, will be expanded to include a broader range of vehicles.

The announcement was reportedly made at a Las Vegas gathering of Toyota and Lexus dealers from across the country.

Reports are that the Prius lineup could initially include three models, currently dubbed the Prius ‘A’, Prius B and Prius C, with the launch of the brand.  The hope is that the Prius marquee will enable Toyota to expand its lineup of hybrid vehicles, with a brand name that has established itself at the forefront of the green movement. When contacted, a Toyota representative would only say that “the idea was being examined,” but there have been reports that new Prius models  could roll into dealerships by 2012.

With the introduction of the third generation Prius, hybrid-electric vehicles have now been on the road for more than 10 years. Toyota’s iconic Prius is the country’s most popular hybrid electric vehicle. More than 707,000 Prius have been sold in the United States since they hit American roads in 2001 (as of April 2009).

The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world. The Prius was introduced worldwide in 2001. As a top seller in the U.S. market, the U.S. Toyota Prius made up more than half of the 1.2 million Prius sold worldwide by early 2009.

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