Apparently, the old maxim about there being no such thing as bad press is still true, at least as far as the Toyota Prius is concerned. You might think that reports of issues with loss of braking power might turn off people shopping for the hybrid icon, but you'd would be wrong. This is what Edmunds.com has learned from people doing research on the site.
The staff at the online car-buying research site did some before and after analysis following the disclosure last week of a problem with the control of the brakes on the 2010 Prius. In the days leading up to the revelation, 7.4 percent of aspiring buyers considered the Toyota, a number that rose to 8.7 percent the day after the stories broke. Edmunds measures consideration by the percentage of people that go its Prius pages.
Similarly, shoppers indicating "purchase intent" went from 10.1 to 11.2 percent. Edmunds speculates that the cause may be bargain hunters hoping to negotiate a better deal while thinking the problem will be addressed quickly.
That analysis is certainly possible, but we must also remember that this is a very small sample size based on a single day following the first reports of an issue. This may change if new revelations about safety problems and Toyota's response to them continue to come to the fore. We'll have to keep watching this in the coming weeks and months.