Toyota's top Prius executive dies in plane crash

David Hermance was credited with overseeing the successful development and launch of the hybrid car.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Toyota executive who oversaw the popular Prius gas-electric hybrid car program died in a plane crash Saturday off the coast of California.

David W. Hermance, 59, died when the engine of his small plane evidently stopped working and he crashed into the sea off the coast of California, according to an eyewitness in a statement from Toyota.

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Dave Hermance, Executive Engineer for Advanced Technology Vehicles for Toyota, died Saturday, age 59.

Hermance was flying in his aerobatic Russian Yak airplane.

Gas-electric vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years as gas prices surged and concerns about global climate change have become more central to consumers.

Toyota's (Charts) Prius was the market leader, forcing rival car companies such as Ford (Charts), GM (Charts) and DaimlerChrysler (Charts) to play catch-up.

Hermance was considered the top American executive for alternative fuel vehicles, Automotive News reported.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.