Perceptual Map—Toyota Prius

  • • No vehicle brand occupies a high usability and environmental friendliness position
  • • Primarily because of the mismatch between the two concepts in the consumers mind
  • • Toyota Prius perceived as highly environmentally friendly vehicle but lacks usability (lack of awareness levels)
  • • Marketing plan of the company to aim at positioning the brand on the top right-hand corner of the map
  • • Thus, differentiation and brand image shall be magnified if Toyota is able to merge the ‘green’ and the usability factors successfully


Customers primarily expect vehicles (PHEVs) with advanced technology, power, space, safety and high mileage to conform to laid down emission standards. However, their final purchase decision is based on the driving range, ease of recharging (infrastructure) and the price of the vehicle. Driving range (range anxiety) is the most important barrier for PHEV adoption rates in the studied geographies. While vehicle price was a primary limiting factor for Dubai, the lack of availability of sufficient charging stations was holding back PHEV adoption rates in Sydney. The adoption rates in Dubai is steadily increasing owing to governmental vision and support and associated incentives of easy and toll-free drive-throughs.

Sydney sadly presents a bleak picture owing to a lack of vehicle charging infrastructure and a lack of governmental support. The decision to prohibit car manufacturing in Australia will act as a significant barrier for the growth of the industry in that geography.

Lack of PHEV models (variants) is also a limiting factor in both Dubai and Sydney. Although the Prius was initially targeted to innovators and early adopters, with the fourth-generation Toyota hybrid vehicles (Prius, Camry, Avalon), Toyota is focussing on market influencers so as to hasten the adoption process for its PHEV range of vehicles. This proves that although consumers want environmentally friendly vehicles, high vehicle price, low driving range, high refuelling time, high maintenance cost perception, less available brands and models and less fuel station infrastructure act as deterrents when it comes to new vehicle purchase in the mentioned geographies.


As per previous data, first three generations of Prius have over 70% HEV global market share. This should be leveraged for potential sales advantage and reputation bases for the fourth-generation Prius. Further, with the development of an efficient distribution channel in the two cities (especially in Sydney), the new Prius with a large-scale integrated communication mechanism (multi-channel) may grow up to command a 40% market share in the coming one to three years.

It is also recommended that since the energy efficiency of the current battery is improving by 8% on an average per annum, allowing for increased full electric range. Economies of scale should lower battery prices and, thus, vehicle price. The company could also ensure the that initial models focus towards educating the idea/ concept. The focus of fourth-generation Prius should be remarketed with the idea that the consumer is not required to compromise on power and comfort against economy (mileage + cost savings) and the environment.

Owing to the product being somewhat new to the market, the organisation needs to allocate a substantial amount of its budget. They could do a number of celebrity endorsements to promote the brand and create brand awareness. The company need to ensure that the advertisements differentiate the fourth-generation Prius and ensure that customers perceive the differences (touch and feel). Added features will help improve vehicle sales and satisfy the target market with image of an environmentally friendly, efficient, stylish, comfortable and VFM vehicle.

Some of the other improvement options would be

  • • Dedicated website sub-section for efficient information about Prius fourth generation PHEV
  • • Dedicated helpline for support and assistance. PHEV specialists should be trained and available to assist
  • • Dealerships with specific PHEV knowledge for quick customer assistance

Limitations of Current and Future Scope of Research

  • • The main limitation of this research study pertains to the choice of the number of sample respondents and the sampling technique used. Owing to budgetary and time constraints, the sampling methodology consisted of a non-probabilistic purposive sampling technique. The usage of a significant sample population size for the survey and the employment of a probabilistic sampling technique in the future may result in different results for the variables as tested in the hypothesis.
  • • Although the importance of charging infrastructure (positive effect on driving range) and reduction of vehicle prices (primarily battery) has been established, the challenge remains for identifying and adding suitable infrastructural network and innovate further so as to have cost advantages which may be passed on to the end consumer (reduction of vehicle price) and accelerate the adoption rate. Further research into the mentioned aspects can provide key insights.
A Hypothesis Framework for PHEV Adoption Likelihood (Future Scope)

Figure 10A Hypothesis Framework for PHEV Adoption Likelihood (Future Scope).

• The below research framework may further be employed for deeper insights into PHEV adoption likelihood in the future (Figure 10.4).


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11 Business Model Reconfiguration during COVID-19

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