1. What micro environmental factors affected both the first generation and second generation models of the Toyota Prius? How well has Toyota dealt with these factors?
2. Outline the major macro environmental factors—demographic, economic, natural, technological, political and cultural—that have affected Prius sales. How well has Toyota dealt with each of these factors?
3. Evaluate Toyota’s marketing strategy so far. What has Toyota done well? How might it improve its strategy?
4. GM’s marketing director for new ventures, Ken Stewart, says “If you want to get a lot of hybrids on the road, you put them in vehicles that people are buying now.” This seems to summarize the U.S. auto makers’ approach to hybrids. Would you agree with Mr. Stewart? Why or why not?
Americans love their cars. In a country where SUVs have dominated the roads for more than a decade and the biggest sport is stockcar racing, it seems unlikely that a small, sluggish, hybrid vehicle would become such a hit. But against all odds, the Toyota Prius has become one of the top 10 selling vehicles in America. Introducing a fuel sipper in a market where vehicle size and horsepower have reigned led one Toyota executive to profess, “Frankly, it was one of the biggest crapshoots I’ve ever been involved in.” Considering these issues, it is nothing short of amazing that only five years later, the president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Jim Press, dubbed the Prius “the hottest car we’ve ever had.”

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November 12, 2012

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