Toyota Looks to Unify Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota Looks to Unify Hybrids

Monday, October 15, 2007

Toyota Looks to Unify Hybrids

A recent report from Automotive News says Toyota will be 'unifying' the look of its hybrids, whether they are Camry Hybrids or Prius. Since hybrid car buyers want everyone to know they bought a hybrid, Toyota believes by making all hybrid cars stand out, they will sell more hybrids.

With the Prius outselling every other hybrid on the market today at a 2:1 rate (that's against all other hybrids), even Toyota wants to figure out the best way to capitalize on that success. Part of why the Prius has been so successful is because it looks so different.

Every other hybrid car on the road (except for the Honda Insight which has been retired) looks like its conventional mate except for a few minor details, plus the hybrid badging.

The design chief for the future of hybrid cars in Toyota says they want to incorporate what they are calling 'free-form geometrics.' This means hybrids will have 'sharper angles and egdges' which help reduce drag and improve stability.

Although most hybrid car buyers want to be seen as 'pro-environment,' I think one point is being lost here. The Prius is the most successful hybrid because it's the most fuel efficient at the most useful size. The Camry hybrid success depends on it being linked to the Camry, while being a hybrid. My guess is that a significant portion of people look at the Camry as the car they want to buy, then 'upgrade' to the hybrid option. By 'unifying' the look of all hybrids, they might lose out on those buyers. But then, Toyota probably has a much better idea about who's buying their cars than I do.

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