The Toyota Prius was in the market introduction stage then it matured into the market growth stage. In the Product life cycle there are four different phases. There is market introduction, market growth, market maturity, and sales decline. The Toyota Prius as explained by the book was a new experimental technology that Toyota wanted to test and introduce to the market to see how it would react. Toyota was at a point in their business where they wanted to innovate something new. Some of the ideas that Toyota was considering prior to the Prius were injection diesel engines, electric motors, hydrogen-powered fuel cells, and solar powered vehicles. With Toyota, they were trying to implement a new product to a new market so one could expect sales to be low because the market is not looking for the new product. Toyota was very careful about manufacturing the Prius.
The first prototype Prius was introduced in 1995, and in December of 1997, the first production Prius’ rolled out of Toyota’s factory. I think that Toyota is taking advantage of quite a few of the marketing strategies that we have learned about in this class for the Prius. I think that Toyota is using differentiation as a strategy to help meet customers’ needs; making the Prius the first mass-produced hybrid put into production and selling it outside of Japan was a major marketing initiative for the Prius. By positioning the Prius as the first mass-produced hybrid; Toyota got a first crack at the consumers looking for a hybrid vehicle and could build a strong, eco-friendly brand.
By getting into the hybrid market first and continuously changing and improving the Prius for the consumer, Toyota built a strong competitive advantage over its competitors. I feel that converting all their cars to hybrids is a bad idea. There is still a huge market out there for their non-hybrid cars. In my opinion many people who buy the non-hybrid cards buy them on purpose. For example, I having boat and other toys like that like the ability to pull them with my car. Hybrid cars do no offer even a fraction of the pulling power that a true full gas engine can produce. Companies such as Chevy have tried similar things such as in turning their pick-up trucks into “flex fuel” trucks, but have become a laughing stock amongst the community who want the “power” they paid for.