Toyota Prius Marketing Mix in the automotive industry



The current economic crises have affected the sales of most products in the global market today. Specifically, the automotive industry has experienced a reduction in the demand for their products, and for that reason are wavering n the brink of possible bankruptcy (Halbright & Dunn, 2010). The world’s biggest manufacturers of cars including General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have been affected and have experienced low sales of vehicles owing to the increased fuel prices and lack of substitute fuels to enhance gas mileage. However, Toyota Motor Corporation, which is ranked as the world’s leading automobile company by sales and production,  has managed to stand out in this harsh economic times through the sale of the infamous hybrid car; the Toyota Prius. Observably, Toyota has managed to strategically market this car to its target markets better than any other company has, hence increasing the sale of this car in the automotive industry.

Accordingly, the market segmentation of Toyota has solely been founded on consumer buying behavior, which is known to change over time.  The Toyota Prius market hybrid segmentation for example has been focused on buyers who are interested in efficient and environmentally friendly cars (Halbright & Dunn, 2010). The company also emphasizes the need to provide superior products to their consumers at competitive prices, while ensuring that the products are eco-friendly and in harmony with society at all times.

This paper examines the marketing mix of the Toyota Prius. Specifically, the paper provides a discussion of the product, its pricing element, its place element, as well as, the promotional strategies that have been used to market the product to its target customers. The paper concludes by providing recommendations for the Toyota Prius marketing mix.


The term marketing mix in business refers to the elements of marketing, which when combined together promotes a company’s products and services so as to ensure efficient and effective customer delivery.  Accordingly, researchers and academicians have identified four elements of the marketing mix, also known as, the 4p’s of marketing. These elements of marketing include, product, price, place, and promotion (Kotler et al., 2008). Product refers to the tangible products and services that a company offers to its consumers with emphasis placed on how these products differ from those of competitors. Price, on the other hand refers to the cost of the products and services offered. That is, the amount of money that the consumer will need to part with so as to purchase the product or service. The place element of the marketing mix refers to the location where the company’s chooses to sell its products or services. Lastly, promotion refers to the methods employed to inform consumers of the value of the products in their lifestyles (Kotler et al., 2008).

The Toyota Motor Corporation has created a lucrative marketing mix for their product, the Toyota Prius, which has been specifically designed for their specific target markets. Accordingly, the marketing mix for the Toyota Prius has incorporated the four elements of the marketing mix for the execution of marketing campaigns for this product. Toyota motor Corporation have attributed the great sales of the Toyota Prius to the implementation of the right combination of the 4P’s of marketing (Gusta, 2009). Research studies on the same illustrate that Toyota’s customer loyalty has been a result of their careful consideration of the 4p’s of marketing.


As a hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius has been endorsed with other features that go beyond its eco-friendly attribute, hence making the product easily acceptable in the market. Not only does the Toyota Prius have the characteristic hybrid engine, it is also fuel efficient, which is a great attribute in this time of financial strains.  As Halbright and Dunn explain in their study, the Toyota prius was not initially designed to be a hybrid car. For that reason, it incorporated other features that were useful to the consumers (Rodriguez & Page, 2004). Accordingly, when the company decided to incorporate the hybrid approach in the design of the Toyota Prius, the product has been gradually increasing in its sales, making it one of the leading products in the automotive industry.

The features that customers care most about in the Toyota Prius include its functionality, stylish design, practicality, mileage, as well as, fuel efficiency. The 2010 model, for example, is estimated to have a fuel capacity of about 11.9gallons with the consumption estimated at 50miles per gallon (Halbright & Dunn, 2010). This means that the car’s maximum range is around 595miles (Halbright & Dunn, 2010). In addition to that, the car is obviously economically friendly and its sleek design makes it attractive and modern.  The car’s interior was designed with comfort in mind and safety has been given special attention in the design of the car. Accordingly, he key features in the Toyota Prius are better than those of competing products in that the car has added innovative accessories that are optional based on the customers preferences (Gutsa, 2009).  Two such preferred accessories include the intelligent parking assistant and the solar powered moon roof.  The intelligent parking assistant allows the car to parallel park itself thus reducing the possibility of parking lot accidents. The solar powered moon roof allows the car to cool when the weather is hot, a feature that customers residing in hot areas prefer.

In addition to this, the design of the car differs from that of its competitors in that it incorporates a curved design, whereas the competitors model’s have a straight design.  As previously mentioned, hybrid vehicles are unique products in the automotive industry, which in turn makes them hard to market and sell to target consumers (Gutsa, 2009). However, this does not mean that consumers have stayed clear of purchasing the product. Consumers who opt to purchase the hybrid vehicle often choose the vehicle based on the leading trends, as well as, the benefit the product has on the individual and the environment. For that reason, most consumers place emphasis on the car’s ability to save on fuel cost, brand, and benefits with minimal sacrifices. Accordingly, the Toyota Prius satisfies these needs for its customers, which in turn makes it a leading product in the industry. With relation to branding, the name, sign, and design are affiliated to the Toyota brand, which has a good reputation for excellence and reliability (Rodriguez & Page, 2004).  This, in turn, identifies the car as a Toyota and not a brand of other competitors. Such branding allows consumers of the Toyota Prius organize their knowledge of the product, as well a, make informed decisions regarding the purchase of the car.



As a product of Toyota Motors Corporation, The Toyota Prius has quickly become one of the most eye-catching vehicles in the world today. The success of the sale of the Toyota Prius is based on the company’s ability to manufacture high-quality cars at tactful and affordable prices. The price of the Toyota Prius, has been differentiated from that of its competitors, which has changed from the traditional pricing set-up of other competing companies.  As compared to competing products, the Toyota Prius is priced based on the penetration pricing strategy as opposed to its competitors’ skim pricing strategies. The rationale behind using this strategy for the Toyota Prius is to allow an increase in the sale of these cars even while the price declines. This is based on the increasing demand for hybrid vehicles as they gain mass appeal faster than other types of vehicles in the global market.

Toyota’s penetration strategy is further divided into four main pricing strategies including differentiated/location pricing, Promotional pricing, as well as, optional feature pricing (Gutsa, 2009). The differentiated/location pricing of the Toyota Prius allows the car to be sold at different prices in different states and markets. Promotional pricing strategy, on the other hand, is used for the promotion of the product to its target markets.  Toyota Prius’ promotional pricing is provided in two methods including low interest financing and longer payment terms.  Lastly, the optional feature pricing strategy allows the car to have different prices based on the optional features that the consumer wants for his or her car. In addition to the above pricing strategies for the Toyota Prius, the company also offers competitive financing and lease rates for the Toyota Prius, allowing bulk buying of the car by the consumers.



Like all other brands of the Toyota Motors Corporation, the Toyota Prius is sold at almost all countries and regions in the world. Approximately the Toyota Prius is sold in more than 70 countries worldwide with the largest market being Japan, the United States and Europe (Halbright & Dunn, 2010). The Toyota Prius is slowly gaining entry into Asia, Africa and other regions, thus expanding their market share globally. The locations selected for the sale of this car have allowed smooth distribution of the product to its consumers through dealership networks, as well as, retail outlets. The locations have been selected because they provide larger markets than any other locations in the world.  Additionally, the selected locations for the sale of the Toyota Prius have also been identified as those with the largest potential for the purchase of the product. This is because the target market in these regions have a common characteristic that is suitable for the sale of the car.

Observably, the locations where the Toyota Prius is sold are all urban countries that, in terms of technology, are ahead of the rest. Therefore the consumers found in this regions tend to look for similar features and characteristics when purchasing a vehicle, more specifically a hybrid vehicle. Because Toyota has established good distribution systems in these locations, access to the Toyota Prius by consumers has been made easier, thus allowing them to purchase this product at ease. Though e-business is considered a trend in the buying and selling of goods and services, the company does not sell the Toyota Prius online. However, consumers can attain the details of the car from the website, thus aiding them in the purchase of the car from their local dealers.



Toyota Motors Corporation has embraced various communication strategies to promote the Toyota Prius to its target consumers. The Toyota Prius has been promoted in various diverse ways including advertising, sales promotions, public relations, as well as, personal selling. Wit relation to advertising, the company has advertised the Toyota Prius in both print and electronic media. The car has also been featured in various company exhibitions as a way of promoting the sale of the car to its consumers. Not only has the company produced brochures, pamphlets and posters of the Toyota Prius, it has also promoted this car by featuring it in a number of TV programs and movies. With relation to sales promotions, the Toyota Prius has been featured in various trade fares and motor shows, which give the consumers an opportunity to compare the products to other competing hybrid cars. Public relations has also been used to promote the sale of the Toyota Prius in that the activity the company takes part in give it a good image, thus promoting the sale of its products.

Personal selling allows the sellers of the Toyota Prius and their customers to communicate to each other about the product. This allows the consumer to understand the benefits of owing the car, whereas the manufacturer is given feedback on how to increase the efficiency of the car. With each promotional activity, there is a message that the consumers are given with regards to the Toyota Prius as a product. Accordingly, the 2010 campaign of the Toyota Prius was entitled “Harmony between man, nature and machine. This, in turn, gives the consumers the impression that the car is not only beneficial to them, it is also beneficial to the environment.  The main message and image that is provided in the promotion of the Toyota Prius is that it is ‘Cool’ to drive a Toyota Prius (Halbright & Dunn, 2010).



When marketing a vehicle that will require the consumer to part with a sufficient amount of money to save the environment, there is need for the manufacturer to establish extra features as well as sell the product proactively. Accordingly, the Toyota Motors Corporation should consider the possibility of selling the Toyota Prius online, so that the product can reach other markets that it is currently not accessible to. Globalization has seen the rise of e-business, and for that reason most countries that were previously ot connected to the rest of the world through the internet are now able to connect. By allowing consumers to buy the products online, the company will experience an increase in sales, hence profitability.



Critics of the hybrid vehicles would argue that these products are not competitive with relation to features and prices, and for that reason, present no financial reward for their eco-friendly features. Accordingly, car manufacturers are therefore, faced with the challenge of marketing the hybrid vehicle and convincing consumers to buy these products. However, the Toyota Motors Corporation has succeeded in the marketing of their Toyota Prius, which in turn, has allowed the company to gain profits from the sale of this car. Regardless of its eco-friendliness, the Toyota Prius has been developed with features that are competitive, and for that reason, can be sold to the target consumers in all markets. The uniqueness of the product will allow it to enjoy a considerable market share, and the marketing mix only adds to this.


Gutsa, N. H. (2009). Marketing Mix in Action. Associated Content. Retrieved from:

Halbright R. & Dunn M. (2010). Case Study: The Toyota Prius: Lessons in Marketing

Eco-friendly Products. Retrieved from:

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Wong, V. & Saunders, J. A. (2008). Principles of marketing. New

York: Pearson Education, Prentice Hall.
Rodgriguez, A. & Page, C. (2004). A comparison of Toyota and Honda Hybrid Vehicle

Marketing Strategies. Retrieved from:



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