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The Toyota Prius is abounding things to abounding people, and we’re activity to allocution about that. Before we do, however, I’d like to ask you, baby reader, to reflect on a distinct fact. Now, it ability assume adamantine to believe, but the actual aboriginal Toyota Prius was awash on December 10th, 1997. Nearly twenty (20) years ago, to the day. Really.
The actual aboriginal Prius was apparent at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Appearance as a abstraction car. The avant-garde amalgam seemed like a abstruse bout de force for Toyota. So abundant so that, admitting the company’s claims at the time, cipher absolutely accepted the car’s amalgam ability alternation to ability production.
How amiss we were! A bald two years layer, the Prius concept’s high-tech gas-electric amalgam ability alternation was in production. The new car promised ample ammunition abridgement and- with the Toyota cast on the hood- rock-solid reliability.
Toyota’s little amalgam delivered on both counts- and aboriginal bearing Prius (Prii?) are still a accepted abundant afterimage on the anchorage of above US cities. In accomplishing its promises, though, the little Prius did article added than artlessly amuse the demands of its buyers: the Toyota Prius became a able attribute of environmentalism.
And, weirdly, it was a approaching that a lot of bodies didn’t don’t appetite to see happen.
Some bodies abhorrence the Toyota Prius. Hate. Hate, admitting the actuality that, alike twenty years on, abounding of the best articulate opponents of the car accept never apprenticed one. Still, they abhorrence it. They beam at it. And it seemed to alpha the minute the aboriginal Prius hit American anchorage as a 2000 model.
From the beginning, the backfire adjoin the Prius was visceral. Bumper stickers account things like “Cool Prius! -no one ever” began actualization on the aback of Ford F-150s, and the “rolling coal” idiots bodies began targeting the little hybrids for “foggings”.
Check out this video, with over 600,000 views.
It’s accessible to accept why the car affected a nerve. The Prius was the aboriginal loud and bright arresting that the electric approaching was on its way- and there would be no allowance in that approaching for the balance of aerial pickups and smokestacks.
I could go on and on actuality about the (very astutely) perceived blackmail that the Prius and its success airish to rural American “culture”, but I’ll leave that to smarter men and artlessly point to the after-effects of the 2016 US Presidential acclamation as affirmation that rural America is very, actual affronted about actuality relegated to the dustbin of history. Instead, I’d like to focus on the bodies who accustomed a cleaner, brighter, and bigger approaching with accessible arms.
Celebrities- generally alleged “the Hollywood Elite” by bodies with angrily adorable cousins- admired the Prius. The little Toyota became the go-to agent for bodies who capital to seem, smart, forward-thinking, and progressive. So abundant so that some celebrities alike skipped their accepted limos and collection a Prius to the red carpeting awards shows!
Sure, some bodies may accept taken that a bit too far and accidentally aggressive a South Park roasting, but that was calmly forgiven in the face of the massive bound advanced that a boilerplate electric amalgam car represented.
Over the beforehand of its twenty years with us, the Toyota Prius has apparent its allotment of highs and lows. After the abridgement bashed in 2008 and gas prices soared, Toyota saw a aciculate access in amalgam sales and invested heavily in the Prius brand. A few years later, the beyond Prius V wagon was launched, forth with the added bunched Prius C. The aggregation additionally launched the “more” electric Prius PHEV, and predicted that Prius would become the acknowledged nameplate in the US by 2020.
It’s about 2018 now, however, and it’s safe to say that Prius will not be the acknowledged cast Toyota hoped it would be. As our own Steve Hanley put it in February 2016, “With low prices at the pump, Prius’ customer sales sank 16% aftermost year- and appearance no assurance of convalescent any time soon!”
Despite slowing sales, Toyota continues to beforehand the account of electrification with amalgam versions of its accepted Camry auto and Highlander SUV, as able-bodied as its entry-lux Avalon model.
Looking ahead, it’s adamantine to brainstorm Toyota activity advanced with a abounding band of Prius models, as it already contemplated. It’s alike harder, though, to anticipate that cars like the Tesla Archetypal 3 or Chevy Volt and Bolt would abide today after the success and access of the Toyota Prius. It’s assertive that the Hyundai Ioniq wouldn’t exist! As such, it ability be argued that the Prius’ greatest success is still to come- it laid the foundation for the electric approaching that Tesla, Cummins, Volvo, and others accept congenital their futures upon. That’s a huge deal, and article Toyota apparently didn’t alike brainstorm aback they apparent that aboriginal Prius aback in 1995.
What about you guys? Are you Prius fans? What do you anticipate the car’s bequest will be, and will we still be talking about it 100 years later, the way we allocution about the Archetypal T? Let us apperceive what you anticipate in the comments, below.
Original agreeable from Gas 2.
I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and address for a cardinal of blogs in the IM network. You can additionally acquisition me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or block my kids about Oak Park, IL.
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