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Lets do some word association. We'll start with the word "hybrid." We're guessing most of you thought of the Prius -- understandable considering Toyota's dual-powered hatch defined the gas-electric market and accounts for the majority of the segment's sales. The next words are "Synergy Drive." Not nearly recognizable to the average car buyer, and that's a problem according to Toyota dealer Earl Stewart. Stewart told Auto Week that the Synergy Drive badging on the Camry and Highlander doesn't do much for consumers -- let alone brand image -- but a plan was reportedly discussed with dealers during a recent meeting in Las Vegas just might do the trick.

Stewart claims that Toyota is looking to slap the Prius name on a family of hybrid models in the future, and he told AW that the plan would work because, "If somebody says 'I drive a Prius,' everybody knows what he means." Stewart adds that while the Prius name could make its way onto the rear of several vehicles, it won't become its own sub-brand like Scion. Toyota COO Jim Lentz has reportedly been pushing for a multi-vehicle Prius lineup for over a year, but AW reports that the Vegas meeting was the first time the plans were discussed in front of Toyota Motor Sales president Yoshi Inaba and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda.

It's unclear whether all Toyota-branded hybrids would receive the Prius name, but the move makes sense as most Americans associate the Prius name with hybrids. On the other hand, calling a Camry hybrid the Camry Prius could be as confusing as an Abbott and Costello routine.

[Source: Auto Week]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      You never see me hit E with my MPG... in my Prius!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        That song is hilarious. I rank thee up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Might as well. The Prius is more marketing machine than car at this point anyhow.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Somehow this kinda reminds me of Toyotas of yesteryear: "Celica Supra" and "Corolla Tercel"

      I kinda understand why they want to use the Prius name with their other hybrids...but really - would it be so hard to change it from Synergy Drive to Hybrid?

      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota Hybrid by Prius


      Lexus Hybrid by Prius
      • 5 Years Ago
      sounds familiar.

      "voltec" anyone?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone who calls Toyota cars useless, built on the cheap, unsafe and not advanced are quite frankly ... ignorant armchair critics who exhibit little or no understanding of the car industry not to mention are downright, utter fools.

      Truth be told ... Toyota (and Lexus) undeniably engineer amoung the highest quality, most reliable, dependable and durable vehicles that can be purchased from any automotive manufactuer today and any statement otherwise is simply WRONG ... period !!

      Wether it be regular passenger cars, SUV's, 4WD's or luxury / prestige motoring ... Toyota and Lexus vehicles are undeniably amoung the most competitive available and while i agree Toyota Motor Corporation as endured it's share of faults and challenges in recent months (and years), they however continue to consistantly and constantly rank amoung the strongest performers in every Quality / Customer Satisfaction Survey published wether it be in North America, Europe, Asia or even here in Australia and achievements like that simply do not happen by mistake.

      As for hybrid technology, Toyota / Lexus are undeniably the industry leader while thier regular petrol and diesel engines are amoung the most competitive available not to mention they also continue to invest into other alternative methods aswell such as plug-in and hydrogen powerplants.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the CHP officer who was killed with his entire family when his Toyota burst into flames after the accelerator got stuck to the floor and slammed him into another car would disagree with your defense of Toyota. Or why don't you ask all the families of the people killed in rollover accidents caused by defects in the Pre & 4 Runner what they think of the brand? Toyota 'quality' and 'efficiency' is a well crafted, well cultivated lie that has been peddled to the automotively ignorant for years. Frankly, I don't care if 5 million seniors, 20 million middle aged women on their cell phones, 2 million bros and 150,000 ricers prefer Toyota crap. That doesn't make it a quality product... it just illustrates how stupid the average person is when it comes to cars.

        A friend of mine worked for Lexus service during BMW's bad electrical years (2002-2004) and said Lexus's came in daily with serious electrical problems. Yet somehow Lexus maintained it's 'reputation' for 'reliability, while BMW suffered a PR hit. The difference? The ignorant, brainwashed Toyota owners were too indoctrinated to complain about the poor quality of their cars, while BMW owners screamed to high heaven every time there was an electrical problem with their BMW.

        Ultimately, Toyota owners are generally the uneducated, unintelligent masses when it comes to cars. They don't know (or care) enough about cars to make a fair comparison from one brand to another so they just regurgitate the feel-good crap about 'quality', 'reliability' and 'environmental sensitivity' that they hear every day from their Toyota salesman and on TV.

        I'm not here specifically defending American cars, a vast majority of them are terrible (although many are improving). There are also plenty of great Japanese brands (Honda, Nissan, etc). The GTR and the 370Z (for example) are fantastic cars. The FCX Clarity is a technologically admirable pioneer. I'm just pointing out that the emperor has no clothes - when referring to cars, there is little which is more excessively overpriced, outrageously hyped, and poorly designed than Toyotas. Toyota is the made-in-China, Walmart brand of the automotive world, bought by the masses because they don't know better.

        So it also follows that there are few drivers who are less educated about cars, less skilled at driving, more oblivious to the real world outside their window than the flood of idiots creeping along at 40 mph on the freeway with their right blinker on in ugly looking, poorly handling, cheaply made Toyota Prius's, Camry's, Corolla's, Avalon's, ES's, LS's, IS's and GS's. And despite Toyota's dishonest 'green' propaganda, there are few cars which are less efficient and less 'green' than Toyota monstrosities like the LX570 and Sequoia.

        Even the IS-F is a sloppy, pathetic and unoriginal attempt to copy the M3. Compared to the M3, the IS-F costs more while delivering a lot less; another engineering failure for the sub-par design team at Toyota. However, they did try to make up for it with fake quad exhausts and hyped up ads targeting wanna-be racers who know nothing about cars.

        Toyota has nothing going for it, period, end of story. That people buy it at all only illustrates the depth of people's ignorance when it comes to cars. In every segment, in every category, there exists a cheaper (or similarly priced) car that is simply better all around than what Toyota is offering at a higher price. Finally, that people would actually try to go on any automotive publication and try (pathetically) to defend the worst brand in the automotive world (often simply because they were stupid enough to buy it) only demonstrates how ignorant, delusional, fanatic, and irrational Toyota owners really are.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, vile words, but it seems every car company now seems to building hybrids, 'useless' by your own words. Half a decade ago, every car company that derided hybrids like you are now making, or plan on making, hybrids (GM, Mercedes, Nissan, VW, even Ferrari).

      Hatred for Toyota due to their success is understandable, especially in light of America's fall from grace in the automotive world, but while it may feel good to attack them in the comment section of blog, its another thing to say they are technically un-advanced.

      They build plebeian cars, designed for non-car lovers, true, but plebeians are the vast majority of the car buying population. People buy cars for different reasons. granted, they do have the IS-F, and also have LF-A and RWD Toyobaru planned. But they have been building diesels, they have been building hybrids, and 550hp V-10 engines, and plug-ins PHEVs, and EVs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just leave the "r" out of Prius and you have a perfect name for it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whats wrong with "hybrid"?

      Prius Hybrid
      Highlander Hybrid
      Camry Hybrid
      Yaris Hybrid

      And if they come out with new models that are dedicated hybrids then they can just give it a name like the did with the Prius. Whats wrong with that? Are they forgeting that the Toyota badge has already built a solid name for itself as far as brand recognition building a reliable hybrid?

      I think they might be overthinking this one?
        • 5 Years Ago
        There's nothing wrong with the word hybrid. But, numerous other companies build hybrids too. Toyota has a unique opportunity to utilize this name that they created, which is as universally acepted as the word hybrid, and they want to do just that.

        I personally think they'd be making a mistake if they didn't build on the brand cache that they created with the Prius. Any company can slap on the word hybrid, only Toyota can use the name Prius.

        Granted, I do admit that it would be slightly confusing at first with many more models carrying the Prius moniker, but that would eventually fade just as it has when other automakers have made similar moves.

        In all, I think this makes much more sense than creating a whole new Prius sub-brand. Considering that the majority of their Prius cars would be based on existing models, why market them under a whole new brand name? Not to mention how much cheaper this will be than starting up a new brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey toyota!...free focus groups here at AB
      • 5 Years Ago
      Too bad Toyota didn't have the foresight to predict the eventual iconic status of the Prius. Perhaps then they would have chosen a better name.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So what would you call the Prius then? Prius Prius?
      • 5 Years Ago
      What's wrong with just using the word hybrid? That's even more recognizable than the word Prius. They should just swap out the "Synergy Drive" badges for "Hybrid" badges. No more confusion.

      Or what's next - putting Camry on all non-hybrids? Land Rover on all trucks?

      "Hey, come check out my new Highlander Land Rover Prius".

      Yep, that would clear everything right up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd guess that it's because it's a name that Toyota owns which seperates them from others. Other companies slap the Hybrid name on their cars too.

        However, Prius is universally understood and seen as basically a synonym for Hybrid. It's a branding that's taken over the product itself. Kind of like how we say Band Aid when we mean bandage or Kleenex when we mean tissue.

        Using the name Prius allows Toyota to differentiate their product from the other "Hybrids'' out there.

        It's not a bad move on their part I must say. I wonder what they will call the current Prius though?

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