While many people in the know will tell you that the Toyota Prius is hands down the best single investment for practical transportation needs, especially in a driving heavy city like Phoenix Arizona, the company as a whole is showing signs of decline. Even the Prius suffered major image damage due to it’s massive 2010 recall fiasco. There are two ways in which Toyota can ease this decline and begin taking ground again. The first move is damage control on the Prius brand.
Customers need to know that they are indeed buying a reliable vehicle from a quality company. Add in the competition from the comparable Honda Insight hybrid (with Honda’s flawless reliability and minimal recall record), which comes in several thousand dollars less than a Prius, and Toyota needs to give good reason for a customer’s investment. People need to know that they are receiving premium quality in exchange for a premium price.
The second strategic move from Toyota should be a re-focusing of market attention from only one vehicle to the brand as a whole. If you mention the Toyota Corolla, or the Toyota Camry, many people will not be sure if the models are even still in production. Toyota, while focusing on one model, as well as the upper management’s heavy focus on Toyota’s Luxury Lexus brand, has let the lineup turn stale. The new 2011 Camry model, for instance, looks like it could have come from 1996. The line-up is showing obvious signs of neglect from the design and engineering side. Akio Toyoda, the company’s CEO, should take a cue from their leading competitor Honda, by focusing not only on a specific green hybrid model, or the company’s luxury wing, but also developing and re-conceptualizing classic brand models, as Honda has done this year with the new generation of Civics.
Toyota can also focus on integrating the great hybrid technology of the Prius with it’s hopefully redesigned and re-conceptualized Camry and Corolla models, as Honda has done, most notably, with the new generation of Honda Civics.
Yet with all of the problems at Toyota right now, as was said at the beginning of this article, the Prius is still one of the best investments a Phoenix Arizona driver can make in a new vehicle. More than that, Toyota is historically a quality auto manufacturer, and thus must be aware of brand problems and is likely seeking to remedy them. Phoenix Arizona motorists can view and test drive the Toyota Prius, as well as some hopefully revamped Camrys and Corollas in the near future, at their local Phoenix Arizona Toyota dealer.