6:12:16 The Squinty Prius

In 2013, I wrote about the Toyota Prius and its drivers here. Studies had found drivers of the well-known hybrid acquired a certain moral license. One that justified bad driving habits in the name of energy-savings offsets, as it were, that went with the Prius choice.

[2017 toyota prius]

If in earlier times, Toyota was criticized for cars that were conservative and nothing special in styling, the company outdid itself with the second-generation Prius in 2004. Although the Prius would never be mistaken for an automotive beauty, it did, with its fastback lines, seem to shout, the future is here, but also--with its stealth-mode, whispering electric drive--something that silently said with an iconic look: eco cred.

Which is to say, Toyota gave its buyers what they really wanted: a look that advertised, I'm saving the environment, one less gas stop at a time.

So it was with interest I noticed the latest model Prius taking to the road, which at first glance, is radically different. LED headlights are slits and the taillights, some matching futuristic Zorro slash strokes. Toyota has done a gutsy update.

So what does Toyota gain? Well, for one thing, they make old Priuses look dated. There's incentive for old Prius owners to trade in their three- and four-year-olds and get the latest. The squinty Prius--by its newness--has even stronger iconic looks. All the more reason to buy for its out-in-the-open virtue.

I think Toyota will do quite well selling the latest version of the Prius. In contrast, I have doubts as to how Nissan will fare with its all-electric 2017 Leaf.

The Leaf uses no gas whatsoever. Talk about virtue qua automobile. And, like the Prius, the Leaf has a distinctive look. A look that says unconventional car with an eco-friendliness as obvious as its name, okay?

Well, Nissan has accepted marketing research that says the look of the Leaf is awfully polarizing. People love it or hate it. Lovers of the Leaf's looks buy it. The car has sold 220,000 worldwide. Still to build on those numbers--and soften the polarization--Nissan has decided the 2017 model will look more like the rest of the Nissan line with less visual cues that this is one car that doesn't need a tail pipe.

I predict Prius sales will continue to soar. Leaf sales will stall out by abandoning their core fanatics who want to look like, I'm so over petrol!

Image credit: google images: wikipedia.org


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The Cat at Light's End

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.



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