2012 Toyota Prius V side view

This fall, Toyota's U.S. Prius lineup will expand with the addition of a five-seat wagon: the Prius V. However, word is that the Japanese automaker could eventually launch a seven-seat hybrid vehicle – one not built on the existing Prius platform – in the U.S.

According to Toyota division group vice president and general manager, Bob Carter, the automaker is considering a seven-seat Prius-branded model. Though Toyota already sells a seven-seat version of the Prius V in Japan – called the Prius Alpha – Carter says the seven-seat model under consideration for the U.S. would be a different vehicle.

The third-row seats in the Prius Alpha offer little usable room and robs the hybrid of cargo space. However, Carter says the U.S. model, if it's ever built, would address those shortfalls by offering true seating for seven and room for tons of stuff. That certainly sounds like a fitting description for a hybrid minivan.

Although a seven-seat Prius model seems likely, Carter says that, as of right now, "there is nothing in the hopper." However, over the next 20 months, ten all-new or redesigned hybrids will join Toyota's global portfolio of vehicles, so we'll keep our ears open.


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Photos copyright 2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]