Toyota To Unveil New Hybrid Prius In Las Vegas

Aug 20, 2015 12:37 PM EDT | John Nassivera

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Toyota plans on bringing hybrid sales back up with the unveiling of a new version of its Prius next month.

The preview of the fourth-generation hybrid will take place at a media event in Las Vegas on Sept. 8, and the Japanese automaker already sent out invitations for journalists to attend, .

The update will apparently be the first major one that the Toyota Prius has received in seven years. The vehicle debuted in Japan in December 1997 as the world's first mass market hybrid.

The unveiling will follow a major slump in hybrid sales due to the huge decline in oil prices, . Price sales dropped 15 percent in the first seven months of 2015, compared to the same period last year. Consumers' shift to SUVs, crossovers, pickups and other less fuel-efficient vehicles has also played a role.

Toyota has so far sold 108,073 Prius units in the U.S., which includes the smaller Prius c and the bigger Prius v.

Despite the sales drop, the Toyota Prius is still the world's most popular hybrid and one of the best sellers in the big California market, NBC reported.

Earlier reports suggest that the new hybrid will be longer and have better fuel economy, electric range and horsepower. Other expected features include new LED headlights and tail lamps, a more refined interior, an improved infotainment system and a wireless cellphone charger.

Fans will have to wait about three more weeks to see if Toyota's 2016 hybrid will match expectations.  

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