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Automotive Intelligence News

News of  July 25, 2000
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Innovative Hybrid Marketing Campaign Launches Toyota's Clean Car for the Future
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Unprecedented On-line Demand Fuels Initial Prius Sales 
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Torrance, CA - The much-anticipated U.S. launch of Prius, Toyota's revolutionary gasoline/electric hybrid car, is underway with the unveiling of an innovative marketing campaign spearheaded by Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A., along with Saatchi & Saatchi of Los Angeles and Oasis Advertising of New York.
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Prius

Photo: Toyota

The teams have created a unique and fully integrated media plan. Broadcast and print advertising combined with interactive, outdoor and lifestyle marketing are fully synthesized within a campaign that strives to intrigue the buyer to make the intelligent choice, without compromising comfort, convenience or performance.  

The campaign theme, "PRIUS / genius", is not only reflective of the new technology, but of the creative web-based marketing approach. The inherent challenge of marketing new technology to a new audience led TMS marketing to utilize a unique tactic. For nearly two years, the campaign has revolved around developing a dialogue with interested consumers. This resulted in a pool of over 40,000 interested consumers or "handraisers" in industry speak. These prospects were given early access to the Prius microsite(http://toyota.com/prius) and its special order feature.  

Even before arriving in showrooms across the country, nearly 1,800 of the revolutionary Toyota Prius have been sold via on-line purchase requests. Toyota dealers started placing U.S. orders for the world's first mass-produced gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle on June 30, 2000. The site officially opened to the public on July 14.  

"Prius enthusiasts have been following the development and availability of this new technology for more than two years", said Steve Sturm, vice president of marketing for TMS. "We wanted to reward the enthusiastic reception for Prius among these early intenders by offering them the first opportunity to submit an on-line purchase request."  

All orders will be finalized by dealerships on a first come/first serve basis, with initial deliveries arriving in August.  

In order for consumers to evaluate the Prius for an extended length of time, not just a short test-drive, 100 percent of the initial build will be allocated to a special dealer rental program. Interested consumers will be able to drive a Prius for up to one full day. This special demo program will begin in mid-July with the arrival of Prius at over 900 participating dealers.  

Built for the future, Prius is the world's first mass-produced vehicle to use a combination of electric and gasoline power to boost fuel efficiency and dramatically lower exhaust emissions. In addition to complying with all current clean air regulations, Prius also meets California's strict Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standards. With a SULEV certification, Prius is 90 percent cleaner than the average car on the road today.  

Toyota engineers are just as concerned about the air inside Prius as they are with the outside atmosphere. The sedan is so conscious of air quality that it won't even have an ashtray.  

To coincide with Prius's summer introduction, interior comfort is enhanced by a layered air conditioning system that encompasses upper and lower tiers of circulation for maximum efficiency. And, when the car is stopped under normal driving conditions, the engine is turned off and the air conditioner compressor typically ceases operation, further reducing fuel consumption.  

A stylish, roomy four-door five-passenger sedan, Prius requires no charging stations, nor any change in consumer driving habits. With more than 35,000 already on the road in Japan, the Prius is a commercial success. Prius, with such standard features as ABS brakes, air conditioning, power windows and AM/FM cassette stereo system, arrives in U.S. showrooms starting mid-July and is priced at $19, 995 MSRP. The price also includes an eight-year/100,000 - mile battery and hybrid system warranty, plus a free seven-day/24-hour roadside assistance.  

(July 20, 2000)

 

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