Could a GM-branded Prius be in your future?

Could a GM-branded Prius be in your future?

Just ten days ago, General Motors denied a story that it was planning to license Toyota's hybrid Synergy Drive system, but today a new report has broken claiming Toyota could offer GM the Prius hybrid, to be re-branded as a GM product.

Aside from being completely off the wall, the report doesn't really sit well with the direction GM has taken on its own two-mode hybrid products and development of the Volt.

On the other hand, with today's announcement that GM will be withdrawing from the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint venture with Toyota in California, perhaps a re-branded Prius makes sense. It's at least likely that the topic came up as part of the discussions that led to GM's decision to pull out of NUMMI.

"After extensive analysis, GM and Toyota could not reach an agreement on a future product plan that made sense for all parties," said Troy Clarke, president GM North America.

Clarke also said in his statement on the NUMMI that GM and Toyota had no future vehicles planned for their joint venture. However, the Prius is already under consideration for production at the NUMMI site since plans to build the car at its Mississippi plant fell through, reports Bloomberg.

The presence of domestically-produced Prius-based hybrids from a company GM has a long history of partnership with might be too good to refuse. But with modern product delivery timelines what they are, getting a re-branded Prius through the approval process and into production would likely land it right in the middle of the Volt's planned late 2010 debut.

Of course, Toyota could always just use the Prius production from the former joint-venture site for its own U.S. sales to meet the huge demand it is facing for its latest hybrid.