Back in January, Toyota announced the start of its "Highway to the Future" tour, a mobile demonstration unit that talks about the benefits of hybrids (as Toyota sees them) in places where hybrids are not top sellers, or even that well understood. Since then, we've been getting press releases about the tour arriving in this town or that state, but we haven't been publishing a lot about the tour because how many times can we say that Toyota is going to be in place A at time B. People who need to know will probably be checking the official site anyway.
But a lot happens at these many small events. The Wall Street Journal tagged along to one of Toyota's stops in Indianapolis, and uses it as a starting point to describe how "Toyota Tries to Sell Priuses Where Tractors Are Sexy." The WSJ frames Toyota's tour as the challenge of selling the lefty Prius in rightwing America, but the Highway to the Future actually travels all over the country. The WSJ singles out Washington, D.C. as one place where many hybrids in America are sold, and that was the tour's second stop.

Still, the article is an interesting read, and highlights how Toyota could soon sell a lot of hybrids. If Ford and GM are smart, they'll follow Toyota with their own pro-hybrid tours through these same areas. Let Toyota explain that you don't need to plug the Prius in, then swoop in with a domestic hybrid product to play on patriotic feelings. If GM and Ford aren't smart, they'll continue to see the Prius be the high-MPG poster car. But now those posters will be up in more areas.

[Source: Wall Street Journal / Gina Chon]


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