In 1999 Toyota released the first hybrid car to be sold in the mass market of the US, according to hybridcars.com. Just a year later Toyota released the first Prius, which quickly became a huge success. And in 2004 the Prius won Car of the year in Motor Trend Magazine, emphasizing that this new environmentally friendly vehicle was a trendy commodity to own. As the Prius became more and more successful, there began to be a steady increase in demand for hybrid vehicles, and other automotive companies began to see the promotional advantages to producing environmentally friendly cars, as well as the brand image benefits to being a progressive company helping the environment. Since then more and more companies have adopted the hybrid model and the fuel-efficient vehicle industry has skyrocketed.
Today the list of alternative fuel-efficient vehicles on the market is huge. The fuel-efficient automotive industry is extremely competitive and automotive companies are constantly fighting to produce the most fuel-efficient, trendiest cars on the market. To remain popular in the industry it is important to continue to produce the most unique and exclusive vehicles, and Toyota is an excellent example of this. Since the beginning of the fuel-efficient car movement, a sector of the larger environmental movement, Toyota has remained on top in this industry. The company has come out with several versions of the Prius, and constantly works to make their cars more environmentally friendly, in order to promote themselves as a progressive company working to find ways to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. They are currently working on the first ever mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car, which transporteveolved.com said is, “probably Toyota’s most hyped car ever.” Not only will this new car be a huge promotional tool for Toyota in that it is the first on the mass market (similar to the Prius in ’99), but because this type of car is so new, and so good for the environment in relation to other vehicles, Toyota will also get to use this as a way to promote themselves as the trendiest company in the industry. The corporation has the exclusivity asset, which is imperative to being on trend, on its side because the car will only be available to a select group of Californians who have access to a hydrogen filling station, because this form of fuel is so new. Toyota is promoting this car in a very clever way. They are collaborating on their promotion with the Environmental Media Association, which works with the entertainment industry to encourage green production and raise public awareness around environmental issues. By being supported by a non-profit environmental organization, and using it to help them promote this new car, Toyota is helping improve its brand image as a progressive company. Together they have put on a contest to offer the new car as prize as a way to raise hype around the hot commodity even further. It looks as though this will be a very talked about item in the near future.