Which Could Mean Lower Prius Prices in Japan and Elsewhere
What is today "cutting edge" will tomorrow be something else. That's the way technological progress works, and that's what Toyota has found is happening with its Prius brand in Japan (and most likely elsewhere soon). "Because of its high sales volume, car buyers are now more likely to think of the Prius as a 'friendly' brand than a 'leading edge' one, according to a survey conducted by Fumikazu Kitagawa of Nomura's global automotive practice. As a result, it's competing with customers who may be drawn to cheaper cars with a strong 'friendly' image, such as Honda Motor Co.'s Fit", writes Bloomberg.
The research institute who conducted the survey about the Prius hybrid's brand concludes that the more the prius becomes a mass-market car, the more pressure there will be on Toyota to reduce pricing to keep it competitive with its perceived competitors.
And nowhere is the Prius more mass-market than in Japan (see our previous posts: Prius Sales are Exploding in Japan: 392% More than a Year Ago in July and Toyota Prius to Become Japan's Best-Selling Car Ever, Unseating the Corolla! ), so it's not surprising that pressure for a price drop would be strongest there. But it'll probably come to the rest of the world as public perception of "leading edge" moves to cars like the Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF, and Ford Focus electric.
It's not a done deal yet, but it's a very plausible theory and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be right.
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