Saturday, March 10, 2012

Research Paper on Toyota Prius

Research Paper on Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius Marketing Plan
Toyota is one of the leading car manufacturers. In the late 1990s the company focused on the development of new type of cars that were defined as hybrid cars, which were environmentally friendly and did not produce such a harmful effect on the environment as conventional cars do. In this respect, Toyota Prius was the flagman hybrid car which was created by Toyota and which was the first mass-produced hybrid car. Basically, this was one of the major strategic advantages the new product of Toyota counted for in order to gain the large share of its segment of the market. It should be pointed out that the development of such a car was just a part of the general process of the introduction of the new car in the market. While introducing the new model, Toyota had to take into consideration peculiarities of specific markets and possible challenges and problems the new product could encounter there.

In such a situation, it is extremely important to elaborate an effective marketing plan to the introduction and promotion of Toyota Prius. In fact, the marketing plan is the basis for the successful introduction of new car but to create an effective marketing plan, it is necessary to clearly define the objectives the company and the new product should achieve the target market, choose the most effective strategies and develop a precise plan of actions.


Marketing objectives
Basically, Toyota Prius is a really unique car because it is the mass-produced hybrid car and naturally, having such a unique characteristic, the car should target at the gaining a larger share of the market. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that the introduction of the new car in the market will lead to the counteraction from the part of the major rivals and competitors that will make the process of entering of the market a bit problematic. This is why the major market objective for one year is to gain about 20% of the market share in its segment in order to get a solid basis for the further development. Also, it is necessary to focus on the promotion of the car and make the model, Toyota Prius recognizable. It is very important to create a positive image of the car among customers that should be one of the priorities for the company. At the same time, the introduction of the car should be accompanied by the improvement of the existing service centers in order to make the able to work with this specific model, which is apparently different from conventional cars. In other words, it is necessary to improve the quality of service of the company. Furthermore, it is also very important to develop the network of the distribution of Toyota Prius. This means that it is necessary to assess and define the most effective way of the distribution of this model.

Also, one of the priorities of the company should remain the focus on the customer satisfaction, which is very important in the current situation because it produces a positive impact on the preferences of customers, the popularity of the car and brand at large. At the same time, it is possible to achieve the shift in the perception of customers of Toyota and position the company as a new brand, the brand of new types of cars, which are environmentally friendly and are available to the mass consumers. In such a way, the company should attempt to position itself as a company that takes of human environment and attempts to decrease the air pollution and negative impact of cars and traffic on the environment. Such a shift obviously implies the necessity of the change in customers perception of Toyota as well as of the surrounding world. To put it more precisely, it is necessary to make them conscious of the importance to protect the environment and, in this regard, Toyota Prius may be viewed as a perfect car that meets the highest environmental demands of the present epoch and, what is more, Toyota Prius may be viewed as a car of the future because of it is the unique hybrid car which uses new technologies which decrease the threat to the environment. Anyway, customers should be aware that using Toyota Prius means improving their environment or decreasing the negative impact of their cars on the environment in which they actually live.

Target group
Basically, Toyota Prius should be oriented on three major markets in Europe: the UK, Sweden and Greece. The car should be destined to the mass customers living in these three countries. These markets are quite convenient for the introduction of Toyota Prius because of the high environmental standards and the existing automobile market potential. It should be pointed out that for all of these countries environmental characteristics are of the paramount importance and naturally Toyota Prius could meet the expectations of customers. In fact, such countries as the UK, for instance, as well as Sweden has its own car manufacturers but it does not necessarily mean that the new car cannot be introduced. In stark contrast, Toyota Prius should target at the mass customers in this country, mainly representatives of the middle and even lower-middle class who could afford an environmentally friendly car and, at the same time, save costs due to the low fuel consumption. At the same time, the company should hardly target at the young people as the potential customers of Toyota Prius. In fact, the company should mainly focus on the middle or lower-middle class people that have a family and children, who need a good, reliable, environmentally friendly and large car. In this respect, it should be said that Toyota Prius is the largest hatchback produced by Toyota. This is why such a choice of the target group of customers is quite logical. As for the gender of the main consumers of this product, it actually does not really matter because the car could be acquire by both male and females. Also, it is possible to attempt to focus on the upper-middle class customers or even class customers and propose this car as a second car in the family since it is quite convenient and comfortable for trips of the entire family and the car has enough space to place the essential objects that may be useful during a typical family trip.

In addition, the car could target at customers who are concerned on the problem of environmental protection and this category of customers is quite indefinite because it cannot be classified in accordance with the level of income of social status. Though it is possible to presuppose that, in all probability, low income families would not afford the acquisition of such a car, but potentially, the acquisition of such a car would be probably the best choice even for the low-income families.

Marketing strategies
Naturally, the introduction of the new car in the markets of the UK, Sweden and Greece should be based on the use of the effective strategies because, at the present moment, markets are saturated and a midsize hatchback would, in all probability, encounter a strong rivalry from the part of the major competitors that will create certain entry barriers. Nevertheless, due to the uniqueness of the car it is possible to achieve positive results but still without effective strategies positive results could hardly be achieved.

In this respect, it should be said that it is primarily necessary to focus on the promotional campaign of the new product. It is very important to prepare the market for the introduction of Toyota Prius. This means that customers should know what the new care actually is and what the basic advantages of this car are. This means that it is necessary to launch a promotional campaign before the new car appears in the market. It is very important to choose the effective medium of the promotion of the new car. In fact, the use of the large range of media may be effective, but at the same time, there is a threat of dispersing funds on the ineffective advertising in some media. What is meant here is the fact that the promotion of Toyota Prius in some sport editions is apparently unreasonable, especially taking into consideration the major target customers of this model, i.e. a person that has a family and children.

On analyzing the possible choice of effective media, it should be said that printed media are not very effective compared to the visual media. This is why it is unnecessary to concentrate a lot of attention on the advertising of the new car, Toyota Prius in printed media, such as magazines, for instance. Instead, it is possible to focus on the advertising of Toyota Prius via television, which is considered to be a more effective medium at the present epoch (Mohrman, 120). Basically, the advertising of Toyota Prius on television could bring positive results because of the large audience that watch TV regularly and it is just necessary to choose the right time and create an effective advertisement to introduce Toyota Prius, emphasizing its positive characteristics, such as the low fuel consumption and the fact that the car is environmentally friendly. In fact, the car may be positioned in the advertising as the ideal car for people who take care of the future of their children. Apparently, this will attract customers who have a family and, since these customers are the major target group of Toyota Prius, than the success of such advertising will, to a significant extent, define the success of the entire promotional campaign. However, in recent years the popularity of another media, Internet, may be also used very effectively in the promotional campaign. According to researches of specialists (Volti, 227), customers retrieve the basic information about the car they would like to buy from Internet. As the matter of fact, they can acquire the basic information about the care, compared it with other cars belonging to the same class and, thus, make a choice in favor of the best car. In such a situation, it is very important that customers choose Toyota Prius.

Naturally, it is necessary to help them the right choice and Internet provides ample opportunities to the effective promotion of Toyota Prius and its positive characteristics. To put it more precisely, with the help of Internet it is possible to provide detailed information to customers about the technological characteristics of the car, its advantages compared to the major competitor. In the process of the promotion of the car, it is necessary to lay emphasis on the environmental characteristics of the car, its safety and reliability. In this regard, the public image of Toyota as a reliable brand may produce a positive impact on the perception of Toyota Prius as the most advanced car developed by Toyota. As it is a hybrid car, it is possible to present Toyota Prius as a totally new generation of cars, a hybrid car that can be very popular among customers. In this regard, customers should perceive this car not just like another new model of Toyota but as a different, brave, new car. What is meant here is the idea that the uniqueness of this car should exploited to make customers perceive the car not as one of many but as the only one and unique hybrid car that is available to mass consumers at the affordable price of €27.000. In such a way, it is possible to avoid the undesirable competition from the part of other brands that are popular in the UK, Sweden and Greece and position Toyota Prius as the new generation of cars. In fact, it is even possible to present the car as the first car in the production line of Toyota which will change the perception of customers of a car. In such a way, Toyota Prius could be presented as the first car that will debunk stereotypes and change the concept of a car since the technologies used in the process of the production of this car are the technologies of the future. At the same time, the emphasis on the use of the new, advanced technologies will also make Toyota Prius interesting to those who appreciate the use of innovations in cars and prefer the most advanced technologies to other characteristics of a good car.

Naturally, in the promotional campaign, it is important to draw the attention of customers to the fact that the fuel consumption of Toyota Prius is very low, especially compared to other cars, that is another significant advantage of the car, especially in the current situation, when oil prices hit the ceiling and the cars consuming the large amount of fuel become unable to compete, especially in European market in such relatively small countries as the UK, Sweden and Greece. In such a way, it is obvious that the uniqueness of Toyota Prius as the hybrid car should be the cornerstone of the promotional campaign. It is obvious that this fact the car the strategic advantage compared to its potential competitors. However, the traditional positive qualities of the car should also be mentioned and customers should be aware of the fact that they do not buy an environmentally car but they also acquire a very comfortable, spacious (for its class) car paying just €27.000. In the current market situation, it is also important to provide customer with a large choice of the possible equipment that could be installed in the car. Basically, it is one of the decisive factors that influence customers’ choice because the lack of some equipment or, what is more, the impossibility of its installation may change the decision of a customer. In such a situation, the company has a large experience and is able to provide a large choice to its customer in order to provide all possible equipment that can be optionally installed in Toyota Prius to meet the demands and interests of customers.

Naturally, the promotional campaign is just a part of the process of the introduction of Toyota Prius in the markets of the UK, Sweden and Greece. Along with the promotion of the car, it is necessary to make it really available to the mass consumers. This means that it is necessary to provide the stable supply of cars to all part of the three countries to provide all people, who want to buy Toyota Prius, with this car. In this respect, it is possible to use the existing network of Toyota. In this respect, the position of the company will be probably better in the UK since the production of the car may be developed closer to this market than to markets of Sweden and Greece. In addition, Toyota may be more popular and recognizable in the UK because the company actively participates in automobile sport events, such as GP of F1 in Silverstone, for instance.

As for the strategy of the distribution, it should be a network distribution because this car should be positioned as the unique car and the only hybrid car that is available to the mass consumers. In such a situation, it would be simply illogical to promote Toyota Prius as the car for mass consumers and limit its distribution to specific regions. However, it is obvious that the demand on the car will be different in different parts of the three countries. For instance, the northern part of Sweden could hardly be viewed as the region where the sale rates of Toyota Prius will be exorbitant. Consequently, it is necessary to use the existing network of Toyota to distribute Toyota Prius.

Finally, it is important to develop the customer experience through the communication between distributor and customers. To put it more precisely, distributors should amply inform customers about the potential of the car and position it as an image builder of Toyota, i.e. as the most advanced and the most perspective car developed by Toyota. In this regard, it should be said that due to the use of innovative technologies that made the car environmentally friendly and the low level of the fuel consumption makes the car really attracting to customers and these technologies may be used in other models of Toyota.

Activity plan
The realization of the basic strategies should rely on the activity plan which should define the basic stages of the preparation of Toyota Prius’ introduction, its promotional campaign, introduction and distribution in the markets. First of all, it is necessary to start with the promotional preparation campaign that should take from two week to a month, though two weeks seem to be the optimal term to evoke the interest of customers, attract them to the product and present its uniqueness. At the same time, taking into consideration that there may be some remote areas where the population is not so numerous and the number of customers is also smaller than in large cities, for instance, it is possible to continue the promotional preparation campaign in these region for two more week so that within a month the entire market was ready for the introduction of the new car.

The second step is the introduction of first cars accompanied by the active promotional campaign. This may take one more month. This stage implies the introduction of cars within the distribution network of Toyota with the emphasis on the large urban areas, such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Stockholm, Athens, etc. During this stage the customer can have a chance to test a car, drive it with an instructor, they should be informed in details about the advantages of this car. The latter actually should be a permanent practice since it contributes to the formation of the unique image of Toyota Prius as the only hybrid car and, thus it improve the image of the Toyota’s brand. During the first month of sales, it is possible to reduce a little bit the price of the car to €26,500, for instance, or offer some additional equipment to be installed in cars during the first month of sales.

After the preparation stage and the first month after the introduction of the car the mass sales of the car should start and, at this stage, it is necessary to provide a very effective logistics to make the supply stable so that customers in different parts of the UK, or Sweden, or Greece could buy Toyota Prius without any problems.

The promotional campaign should be continued from the preparation period and the beginning of sales for about three months in order to make the customers aware of all benefits and advantages of Toyota Prius.

Finally, by the end of the year, it is also possible to make customers some special offers such as the decrease of the price of Toyota Prius or installation of some additional equipment in order to maintain their interest to the car and remain competitive with the major rivals of the company.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the introduction of Toyota Prius in the markets of the UK, Sweden and Greece should be based on the use of effective strategies and primarily focus on the promotional campaign, which should inform customers about the basic advantages of the car and position Toyota Prius as the unique and very perspective car. After that it is necessary to distribute the car and maintain the interest of customers to the product. __________________________________________________________
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