TOKYO -- Why is Toyota's new Prius wagon called the Prius V, Prius Alpha or Prius+, depending on the continent? It all comes down to culture and copyrights.
In Japan, Prius Alpha plays off the popular term "plus alpha," a Japanese phrase that suggests prowess.
But elsewhere the name runs afoul of trademarks held by Alfa Romeo, Toyota said.
Hence, the Prius V (for versatility) in the United States, and the Prius+ in Europe.
Oddly, in Japan Toyota insists on using the first letter of the Greek alphabet, as in the Prius a.
This created a challenge at Toyota. For the car's English press release, the printer lacked a Greek alphabet font. So the car was repeatedly referred to throughout as the "Prius a."