If one accepts the theory that customer perceptions of automobile makes are influenced at least in part by what customers see on the road, then it is easy to understand why Toyota is perceived as an environmentally friendly, "green" car brand. As shown on the nearby table, Toyota has dominated the U.S. hybrid market for so many years that the number of hybrid Toyotas on the road far out-distances those of any other make.
Consider the following:
- Toyotas account for two-thirds of all hybrids on the road - car or light truck
- Toyota Corporation hybrids (Toyota or Lexus make) comprise 73% of all hybrids on the road
- By itself, Prius makes up more than half (52%) of all hybrids on U.S. highways
- By itself, Prius comprises 91% of all hybrid-only models on the road (including Volt, CR-Z, FCX, Insight, CT200h, HS and Prius)
The last fact listed above means that more than nine out of every 10 vehicles on the road (which are recognized as hybrids because of their unique designs) are Prii, strengthening the link in drivers’ minds between Prius, Toyota and hybrid technology.
Looking ahead, all automotive forecasts say the industry will move towards smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles, which should work in favor of Toyota because of its established image as a fuel-efficient make. And, with its strong customer loyalty numbers, Toyota will be seeing many more returning hybrid drivers than its competitors.
Posted by Tom Libby, PolkInsight Advisor, Polk (10.14.2011)