To say that the only people who buy Prius' are idealistic environmentalists is a pretty ignorant statement, IMO.From the Some Things Are Self-Evident Department:
We’ve recently noticed the piece that ran in the July 15 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, penned by Vickie Haddock, titled, "Oh, So Pious, Prius Drivers."
The piece quotes an item from CNW Market Research that suggests that a primary reason people choose Prius is because of the statement the car makes.
There's no suggestion as to what this statement might be, but we suppose it could be any one of several choices. It could be: A) "We’re concerned about the environment;" B) "We’re fed up with high gas prices;" C) "We’re doing our part to end the United States’ dependence upon foreign petroleum sources;" or D) Other.
Take your choice. Any one, or even all, could be true. And whether it’s one or all, where’s the problem with making such a statement?
The reality, of course, is that people do choose their vehicles based at least in part on the statements they make – even if that statement is subliminal. Prime examples might include Hummer H2, or Porsche 911, or Ford F250, or Chrysler 300, or Volvo S80. Sometimes the statement is style. Sometimes it’s macho brute force. Sometimes it’s performance. Sometimes it’s safety. Whatever it is, though, like it or not, intended or not, the choice always suggests a statement.
What CNW's information ignores, however, is what people are actually telling us. Our research, which is supported not by nebulous weird science, but by hard numbers, tells us that people choose Prius not for any statement their choice might make, but for practical, well-established reasons.
The number-one reason people choose Prius involves the Prius’ outstanding fuel economy. With gasoline hovering at around $3 per gallon, who wouldn’t want the kind of terrific fuel economy the Prius delivers?
The second reason people choose Prius is based on its engine type. The Prius is, of course, a very high-tech gasoline-electric hybrid.
Many folks these days are enthralled by technology and its benefits – witness the rise of the iPod, digital TV and the BlackBerry, among other things. If you’re interested in and impressed by technology that works, and if you’re a car buyer, then you’re likely to be interested in Prius.
Reahttp://toyota.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/18/green_leaf.jpgson three is because of the Prius’ environmental impact. There are a wealth of factors rolled into this one. They include very low emissions, a very small carbon footprint and the recyclable nature of the NmH batteries that comprise part of the Prius’ power train.
There are still folks who dismiss the need to make any environmental impact, but we believe that problems like global warming, air pollution and our nation's dependence on foreign sources for petroleum cannot be ignored.
It is of course naïve to suggest that just buying a car, as opposed to rethinking the ways in which we all live our lives, will make a significant impact on climate change. But it certainly couldn’t hurt, could it?
The fourth reason folks list for choosing Prius is workmanship. We’d like to suggest that great workmanship is a common Toyota trait, one that we work hard on, and one that spreads across all of our product lines. http://toyota.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/18/hsd_screen.jpg We’re gratified, however, when it’s recognized by Prius owners, or by any of our other customers. It just indicates that we’re doing our jobs.
The fifth reason is related to number four – reliability and dependability. These are qualities that are expected from any Toyota product, for sure. But what's really remarkable is the very high degree of trust that the public has not just in Toyota products in general, but in our Hybrid Synergy Drive, especially given the high levels of technology involved. But then, given the fact that Toyota has been building the Prius with Hybrid Synergy Drive for 10 years, that trust seems well-founded.
So, does the Prius make a statement? Of course it does. We’d suggest that like it or not, anything you drive – for that matter, anything you wear, from your shirt to your wristwatch to your shoes – makes a statement. So if the statement being made by Prius owners is one of concern for the environment, one of concern for family economics, one of concern for reducing one’s carbon footprint or one of concern for reducing one’s personal draw-down from foreign oil sources, why, we’d say that that’s a pretty darned positive statement.
And, as an aside, if Prius owners enjoy the acclaim of their friends and neighbors for buying the car, as some research suggests, that merely tells us that the friends and neighbors get it, and might also one day choose to buy a vehicle that offers all the benefits that Prius offers.
So whatever the reason folks choose Prius, it’s all good. A half-million of them total, and the 175,000 new buyers forcast for this calendar year, can’t be too far wrong.
~ Contributed by Jon F. Thompson, Corporate Communications