Toyota to Dilute Its Brand?

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There’s talk in the automotive world of Toyota Motor Company spinning off the Prius brand. The Prius brand would stand alone in the U.S. market only and sell at Toyota dealerships, similar to the youth brand Scion. All cars in the line would be hybrids, with mini and maxi models in development. 

 

Not smart. The Scion brand made sense because of the different sensibility of the youth market – those unlikely to drive a Toyota. But owners of the current Prius are not so disinclined toward Toyota. They bought the Prius because it was a Toyota. Prius is addinggreat value to the Toyota brand and every day demonstrates Toyota’s branding promise “Moving Forward.”  

 

GM, Ford and Chrysler are beginning to smarten up and catch up (read Chevy Volt) and as underdogs they will begin to gain momentum and cut into Toyota’s leadership. Toyota is strong now and will remain so by staying focused. A line extension in this market will divert management, potentially move the brand backward, and hurt their eminence.