Featured CNBC: The Rise And Fall Of The Toyota Prius

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Tideland Prius, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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  2. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    The report forces a strange perspective. You are led to believe the driving force behind any success is by pushing limits, rather than just simply selling a really good car at a really good price. In other words, they only see market change in the form of breaking new ground... which was never what Prius focused on. Not recognizing the purpose of Prius means not understanding what comes next.

    Toyota's goal with Prius has always been to get mainstream buyers to change. For those who have been paying very close attention over the past few weeks, you've noticed what has been happening with the 2020 model of Prime. Inventory is quietly building. Toyota appears to be preparing to fill that void the others have left behind. The supposed "leaders" haven't been able to reach ordinary consumers. Prius Prime is designed to target that very audience. It's affordable, reliable, and easy to sell.

    Put another way, the video closes history on Prius for those who knew it. A new chapter is about to begin, one that exceeds what happened many generations ago... reaching much further into the market of ordinary consumers than we've seen so far. The approach of "elegantly simple" that Prius was so well known for is about to become obvious for those who are just looking for a good car with a plug.
     
    #2 john1701a, Aug 10, 2019
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  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    The only part of the video I did not care for was interviewing Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports. I remember a time 14 years ago when Consumer Reports was all but at war with the Prius as revealed by their abysmal scores. In fact the car surveys of their readers were at complete odds with the CR "testing reviews." Edmunds was doing what Jake claimed Consumer Reports was doing.

    A nit, I don't care for the "eco buyer" labels as some of us are just cheapskates. However, the video touched on high gas prices. The 'technology' aspect was mentioned although I'd have probably gone overboard.

    Bob Wilson
     
    #3 bwilson4web, Aug 10, 2019
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  4. dubit

    dubit Active Member

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    I personally thought the video was pretty honest. I mean hey, it's just another car nowadays. It's nothing special anymore it's kinda ugly. There was a list somewhere on this site of the ugliest cars & It was #1. But as I said before in another thread at least Toyota and it's Prius led the way.
     
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  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I love the little prius going off-road in the chart graphic at 3:44.

    Though it nearly distracted me from a real question- they claim that the Prius “family” had lost x market share by x date. That probably includes the c, v & Prime, right? But does it also include the Camry and Avalon? I don’t think Corolla hybrid had shipped by that date so it wouldn’t be in there.

    Toyota sold a lot of these cars because they were once eligible for the California HOV sticker. Now the rules have changed and the Prime is the only qualifying car Toyota makes. And now there’s a lot more to compete with that Prime. I think Toyota should be supplying some of that competition themselves- plug-in Camrys and Corollas and Avalons and RAV4s.
     
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  6. RRxing

    RRxing Senior Member

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    Hear, hear!
    I'll just wait for the discussion to turn after the next major spike in gas prices...
     
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  7. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Active Member

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    Prius can again capture the market with a BEV if they include one in the next generation,
     
  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Well, the last sentence of the video summarizes perfectly. "The Prius could end up being just another car." For many, including me for sure, it is just another car. Time changes, market changes, and I am sure brand images changes. Where is Nokia phone now a day? Are there any more Walkman sold? Is Prius next to vanish? Oh, maybe the iPhone will be gone someday. I don't really care. There are going to be other options available by then.
     
    #8 Salamander_King, Aug 10, 2019
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  9. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I don't disagree with much of anything being said in that report. I agree with it.
    We've discussed these realities in other threads.

    The easiest thing to say, is "Victim of It's Own Success"....but as pointed out in the report, it's not the only reason sales have fallen. It's a combination of all the things mentioned.

    I've said it before, but I think a major reason we have seen a riptide to maybe a less dynamic 'normal" view of Prius as an automotive purchase choice, is that you can only be the unique, "new" thing for a limited amount of time. And once you've become recognized, and reached the mainstream acceptance that Prius does embrace, you really can't get that back.

    If a more affluent buyer 10-15 years ago, wanted something "different" that had the panache of uniqueness as well as great fuel economy, The Prius was that choice.
    Today, I think it is Tesla or a full electric choice, that holds that allure.

    What does that mean for Prius?
    The future is hard to predict. The death of "Prius Family", I think represents Toyota focusing their efforts.

    I think there are a lot of reasons to believe the Hybrid bridge has not been crossed. Tesla's are still an expensive vehicle in any incarnation, And there is still a need for a growing infrastructure of charging stations, and a large amount of auto owners for which a home charger is not an option.

    I personally think Toyota did make a mistake in how they marketed the latest Generation.
    It was released touting how much it was like everything "normal". How it was beautiful, sporty, and elevating many aspects of how it was NOT like the typical stereotype of a Hybrid.

    You got the Prius driving down rain soaked city streets, while well dressed men and women turned their heads in admiration as it passed. There was barely any mention of it's fuel economy, or emissions benefits. It was a far cry from the Gen 3 release, that had the Prius touting it's harmony with man, machine and nature. The Gen 4 Prius seemed to be touting it's harmony, with every regular ICE vehicle around it. That's not the way to sell a Hybrid to me.

    Because I believe Hybrids are still bought primarily because of their fuel efficiency. And despite lower fuel prices, and more efficient ICE vehicles, I believe 50 mpg is still a very desirable reality in a world where Gas Stations and ICE are still the majority around us. Toyota has seemed unsure of how to promote Prius in recent years.

    Toyota can't do much about the technology in competitors vehicles catching up with Prius. But for a utilitarian hatch-back, Prius use to represent some groundbreaking technologies that just weren't available in a vehicle of it's class.
    Victim of it's own success, means push button start, and keyless entry, is now the norm. And I believe Toyota also has made a mistake in not striving to push the envelope in this arena. Toyota shouldn't be updating it's infotainment system to match competitors offerings. Be among the best, and be innovative and perhaps offer more not less.
    The Gen 3, when released had the fabled "Solar Roof" option. With a debatable tangible benefit. Mixed reviews about whether it was worth it.
    But it was there.
    I do think a big allure for Prius to many buyers was the almost Swiss army knife level of gauges, gadgets, and technology, to experiment with and enjoy. I think it's harder today to impress, and push the envelope in this area, because all vehicles are offering more and more, but it's disappointing that you can't say Prius is trying, even if failing, in this area.

    Give me a few things on a Prius that I can't find on most other vehicles. Even if they turn out to be questionable in overall value. I think Toyota and Prius was groundbreaking in making Push Button Start and Keyless Entry, now a very mainstream reality for almost all new vehicles. But what's next?

    I remember the Gen 3 release. When you had a build up of mystery and excitement. With members of the Blue Man Group in commercials silently revealing aspects of the as of yet unreleased new Prius. Promoting it's fuel efficiency by pouring thimbles of gasoline in the tank.
    Even though the Gen 3 was more mainstream, and poised to be more mainstream than earlier incarnations of the Prius. It was still marketed as a Hybrid, and marketed around those specific advantages a Hybrid creates. It wasn't marketed as ready to blend into the regular world around it.
    That made me excited at the time, about a Hybrid without the gas bladder, with a heat reclamation system. With a Beltless engine, and with things like a EV, ECO and SPORTS mode. And yes, even about a Prius with a solar roof.
    It's easier to be enthusiastic about something when you do believe it's striving to be groundbreaking. Don't sell me a Prius based on how much it can be just like a sports car, or just as beautiful. Sell me a Prius because it's a flagship of Toyota's, and offers MORE not the same or less.
     
  10. ice9

    ice9 Member

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    Agreed. The dead give-away is the fact that the narrator conveniently neglects to mention ANYTHING about the sales of Toyota's multitude of OTHER hybrid models.

    Yet the video states: "...but now... ...SALES OF THE PRIUS ARE FALLING!!!"

    <ermahgerd>

    Undoubtedly a true statement, but when you're also selling hybrid Carola's, Camry's, Avalon's, RAV4's, Highlander's and an entire family of hybrid Lexus vehicles...

    ...who cares?
     
  11. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Agreed. The Prius was a neat little car that gave them the sandbox to develop the HSD. Now they’ve got it, they can put it in any car and we can all forget about the actual Prius itself.
     
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  12. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    Key points are fuel economy and gas prices.
    Whatever the individual take is on those key points.
    Do you agree that fuel efficiency has increased substantially? I don't know about yous but to me it's just not all that impressive.
    Now if Detroit could have built in the last 20 years a stock of the line car that cost $12,000 and got 100 mpg that would have impressed me.
    With the majority of cars still under 50 mpg and billions of tons of greenland ice melting everyday this summer
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/01/greenland-ice-sheet-poured-billion-tons-water-into-north-atlantic-july-alone/?noredirect=on
    I'm sadly not impressed with the auto industry or car buyers generally, including me.
    To put it in perspective from my point of view I ask, how many cars today in 2019 even get better than 100 mpge? 10? 5?
     
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  13. ice9

    ice9 Member

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    Exactly. But one wonders, will they also make them ugly too? :cool:
     
  14. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Car styling is highly subjective, always has been.

    But if Toyota makes hybrid and plug-hybrid versions of a lot of their cars, then there’s a better chance that any given person will find one that they like.

    Several people asked me why we bought a c when the Prime is sometimes priced even lower with the tax handout. Easy- it’s too big. The whole point was to get a subcompact car. If I’d had a chance to get a subcompact Toyota with a plug-hybrid drivetrain I would have leapt at it.
     
  15. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    Me too. When I test drove a C, the first year the plug was added to prius 2012? I mentioned that to the salesman and the salesman was adamant about the C "never" getting a plug.
    I've haven't been seen on that dealers lot since.
     
  16. ice9

    ice9 Member

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    Actually, I was speaking in jest, but I agree with you there too. The Prius was/is an example of proving what you CAN do with a hybrid. Hybridization of the other models will be more a test of "how do we implement this new technology in other models and keep it practical for their end use?" I'm sure that Toyota will attempt to reduce wind resistance in their body styles, even for their SUV's and family cars, but they won't go overboard with it, aesthetically.
     
  17. royrose

    royrose Active Member

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    Two years from now we will be on the brink of the gen 5 Prius unless Toyota abandons the brand which I think is unlikely. Given the mistakes made with the gen 4, I am hopeful (maybe unrealistically so) that the next gen can attract more buyers by a combination of going back to it's roots and advancing technology. I'm sure Toyota is already working on it. I'd love to get a peak at what they are considering. In many way, the Prius still hits the sweet spot for me.
     
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  18. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    One interesting observation I have seen around here is that I have seen more Gen 4's *just recently*. This led me to a thought. It seems to me that the majority of Prius owners are 'appliance transportation' people. That is, they want something that will run reliably..for a long time. What if those owners finally have gotten to the point where they feel an upgrade is warranted? I'm thinking mostly Gen2 owners. Could that account for a 'delay' of sorts in sales? Probably not, but an interesting phenomenon..around here at least. (y)
     
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  19. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Me too! I'm trying to hold off until the '5th gen' arrives...although all of the Prius Prime threads has me wanting one lately. o_O At any rate, I'm convinced Toyota will release a Gen5 Prius for the Prius faithful. I'm hoping that the 'regular' Gen5 will be a Plugin like the Prime...but with better battery packaging, etc...
     
  20. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    I doubt there are many prime owners that don't want more EV miles. I can't argue with the primes 133 mpge or the cost of the electricity to
    get however many EV miles each driver gets from those 6.6 kw ( at the meter ) per charge.
     
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