1. In what stage of the product life cycle is the Toyota Prius? Explain. There are four different phases of the product life cycle (PLC). Introduction is phase 1, and the Prius was introduced more than a decade ago. Phase 2 is Market Growth, which the Prius achieved very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that Toyota’s manufacturing couldn’t keep up with the demand so they had to back off the marketing to get caught back up. Some might think the Prius is currently in Phase 3: Product Maturity, which would be followed by Decline (Phase 4). In actuality, the Prius has been going through re-introduction and product innovation for multiple classes of the Prius. The competition for Hybrids is high, but Toyota has been trusted as the original pioneer for Hybrid cars, and their continued introduction of multiple Hybrid models satisfy multiple market segments.
2. Describe the marketing strategies being followed by Toyota for the Prius. Originally Toyota targeted younger, technologically savvy, leading-edge buyers (Cannon, et. al. p. 634). They priced the vehicle under twenty thousand to keep it affordable, and though it had a slow start, Prius-Genius was a success. Within a few years the competition for “green” vehicles grew substantially. Toyota began to not only maintain, but to increase their market share by expanding their product offerings to accommodate a more diverse group of car buyers. The Prius got bigger, accommodating families, today offering 4 different Prius product lines, the Prius, the Prius V, the Prius C, and the Prius-Plug-in. Toyota didn’t stop there; they have since expanded their Hybrid technology to include the Camry, Avalon, Highlander, and Rav4. Of the 12 products Toyota offers today, almost half of them have a Hybrid version (5 of 12). Toyota is still using the same marketing tools of advertisements, promotions, and vehicle incentives; it just applies to a much broader target audience.
3. Do you think Toyota should convert all of its cars to Hybrids? Why? Why not? It’s probably only a matter of time before Toyota introduces a Hybrid alternative for each of their remaining product lines. On the “green” side of things, it would be nice if all cars sold in the U.S. had stricter regulations on pollution and energy consumption. Perhaps Toyota can be the first to offer a Hybrid truck, and possibly even have a 100% Hybrid product line a few years before the U.S. begins to mandate it, which would help them maintain their trust-ability and reliability for being a true pioneer to earth-friendly transportation. Each generation of the U.S. population might not be ready for this, but we’re getting close.