The Toyota Prius Case
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The microenvironment consists of actors close to the company that affect its ability to serve its customers- the company, suppliers, marketing, intermediaries, customer markets, competitors, and publics. During the introduction and sale of the Toyota Prius, four major sectors of the microenvironment attributed to its success: The company, suppliers, marketing intermediaries, and publics.
Toyotas customer driven marketing strategy is largely responsible for its success in the hybrid car market. Forward thinking and focus on the societal and marketing concepts allowed for the company to deliver superior customer value to its customers. Managements focus on the worlds dependence on gasoline and perceived customer value proved to be useful tools in understanding the more environmentally conscious and non-affluent mindsets of consumers. Sleek Asian- inspired design, a roomy interior, and expensive interior options and features usually only found in luxury vehicles, provided customers with the superior value of luxury at a desirable price.
Toyotas value delivery network is also crucial to daily operations. The timely delivery of cars to manufactures helped to avoid bottlenecks and supply shortages which are often seen with products gaining rapid market share. Delays, labor strikes, and loss of suppliers can seriously disrupt the supply chain, cost sales in the short run and damage customer satisfaction in the long run. Working closely with its suppliers, Toyota is able to strengthen relationships to insure it receives the lowest costs; thus, providing more customer value for its customers.
Marketing intermediaries such as media publics, government publics, and the general public play a pivotal role in Toyotas Prius sales. Due to the economic and environmental forces facing the world today, media publics depict the company as doing a good service for the world, gaining governmental support and enticing the general public to purchase the Prius with the sense that they are doing their part to reduce the worlds dependence on fossil fuels and preserving the environment. In 2007 Toyota sold 181,000 Priuses in the US alone, a 70 percent increase over 2006 sales with little promotional effort. This implies that media, government and the general public played a large role in creating customer awareness, and Toyotas dedication to its customer driven marketing strategy and value supply chain provided its customers with the best value.
Which technical and economic forces affect the marketing of the Toyota Prius? The economic environment consists of factors that affect the consumers purchasing power and spending patterns. Marketers must pay close attention to major trends and consumer patterns in domestic and global markets. One economic force facing the entire world is our dependence on gasoline and the price that it costs. For Toyota, the release of the Prius was designed to gain market share by doing exactly that: saving the consumer money on gasoline purchases. While the national average per car in 2001 was 25 miles per US gallon (9.4 l/100 km) in the United States, the Prius boasted as staggering 42 miles per gallon. With the current strain on North American consumers, high unemployment, companies downsizing due to technological advances, recessions, and price inflation, it is not hard to see why consumers would favor a car that saves you money at the pump. Not to mention, the price of gasoline was a record $4.12 in 2008 and during that time the financial meltdown had left many consumers out of work and looking for ways to make ends meet. Gasoline is a finite commodity, and it is prone to drastic swings dependent on the global macroeconomic picture and supply chain distributions. Toyota understands that customers dont like to be held sway to these forces and it will continue to imply this strategy in its marking to insure future sales.
Technical advances also played a very important role in Toyotas success. The Prius combination of power sources, a rechargeable battery, and low gas consumption made it instantly appealing to consumers. Without the technological advances in hybrid systems and lithium batteries, the Prius would be much less effective and would not have gained market share so quickly. Advancements in LED screens, GPS, touch screen displays and other high tech gadgets made them more affordable, giving the Prius the interior of a luxury car at an appealing price. Though as technology advances and once luxury items become more common place and affordable, new advancements in technology might pose a threat to the company in the future. Toyota must reinvest in research and development in hybrid technology to maintain its current market share.
A value network is defined as the network made up of the company, suppliers, distributors, and ultimately customers who “partner” with each other to improve the performance of the entire system. A value network for a company as big as Toyota plays a critical role in delivering customer satisfaction.
The Toyota Prius value delivery network begins with the company Toyota itself. Strong management, design, and marketing must all coalesce to ensure that the Prius is designed and marketed properly. Internal research, development and innovation are crucial in maintaining