Oct. 13, 2017

Looking Back on the Birth of the Prius 20 Years Ago


Looking Back on the Birth of the Prius 20 Years Ago Looking Back on the Birth of the Prius 20 Years Ago
Oct. 13, 2017

Looking Back on the Birth of the Prius 20 Years Ago

Our mission in the development of the first-generation Prius was two-fold: build a car for the 21st century and transform the way Toyota makes cars.

Among the many issues facing the automotive world at the time, we anchored our efforts on the two key themes of environmental preservation and natural resource conservation. We did so because few automakers had ventured to address such immense issues and because we knew that someone would have to do it someday.

Developing a car without precedent required us to undergo many hardships, but my colleagues and I forged ahead determined to transform Toyota. In October 1997, Toyota launched the first-generation Prius under the banner "In time for the 21st century".

When the Prius first went on sale, nobody knew what a hybrid vehicle was. Those who drove it were even sometimes called geeks. But due to the support of our many customers, who were bold enough to put their hopes in what was once an unknown car, we have been able to reach the milestone of the Prius' 20th birthday.

To all our customers who have supported the Prius and our other hybrids over the years, I would like to express my sincere gratitude.

I joined Toyota many years ago with the dream of developing family cars. Nothing makes me prouder or happier than having been able, through the development of the first-generation Prius, to give a least a little form to Sakichi Toyoda's exhortations "to always be faithful to your duties, thereby contributing to the company and to the overall good" and "to always be studious and creative, striving to stay ahead of the times," as well as to Kiichiro Toyoda's call "to build cars using one's head as well as one's abilities."

Together with our customers, Toyota is committed to continuing taking up the challenge of finding solutions to the environmental issues facing us all today. We invite you to expect the most of Toyota going forward, as well.

Takeshi Uchiyamada
Chief Engineer of the 1st-generation Prius
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Toyota Motor Corporation