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October 23, 2006

Prius Female Friendly?

Priustouringedition2 Well before the recent flurry of "green" marketing hit the U.S., there was the Prius. Toyota introduced its star hybrid sedan in 2000, in a move serenaded by both Hollywood players and national politicians seeking an environmentally friendly image. The Prius, which combines an electrical motor and a gasoline engine in a plain-Jane design, has established Toyota as the dominant hybrid producer—and put Detroit in the all-too-familiar position of playing catch-up. While the hybrid market remains small, it is growing: Projected sales in the U.S. for this year are 262,114, per J.D. Power and Associates, or 1.5 percent of total vehicle sales. By 2013, the figure is expected to reach 934,500, or about 5 percent of the U.S. market. In 2005, hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry, Highlander SUV and Lexus GS 450h SUV joined the company's green fleet.

Toyota produced its 60,000th U.S.-bound hybrid vehicle this summer, and says the IRS, that means the tax credit on the Prius and all other Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles will be cut in half starting Oct. 1, 2006. At  $3,150, the Prius had the energy efficiency tax credit, after the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX ($4,000)... which as reported by Edmunds Driving Woman blog, is a lot less practical to own than a Prius.

Research by Automotive Digest found that 35% of women say they would strongly consider buying a Toyota Prius, men show nowhere near that level of interest.

Priusfront2 Check out Mary's Duros a woman's blog dedicated to Prius ownership and see what she has to say about her Prius love affair.

Here's what Mary Clare Hunt author of "In Women We Trust" has to say about the Prius on the re:invention Blog:

"Ford complained that it was the high cost of gas that caused their sales to slump. Meanwhile, Toyota can't make enough of their hybrid Prius model to keep up with demand. I know five women who own a Prius. That's never happened in my life, to know five people who own the same model car. The Prius resonates with what women want. They happily brag about it non-stop to me. And I've yet to hear one of them tell me how many seconds it takes to go from 0-60 they don't care as long as it's fun, it's safe, it's reliable, it's considerate of their wallet, it's thoughtful for the environment. Find out what resonates with women and they will reward the effort and put their trust into the company just like they trust their friends."

For the eligible bachelorette, it may even be the ultimate guy magnet (over half of Prius buyers are women). For the environmentalist, it's a dream come true. For the average person, it's a practical car with something extra about it.

Political pundit Arianna Huffington, a reformed SUV driver, has been a one-woman billboard for the cars, declaring ''it was love at first drive between me and my dark blue Prius."

Seriously, I wish I was working at a Toyota dealership right now because I can't tell you how many women I see and know who want a Toyota Prius.

Interested in buying your Toyota Prius from an Ask Patty female friendly certified dealership?

In California: Penske Toyota

In New York: Star Toyota

In Florida: Kendall Toyota

Jody DeVere
President, Inc.



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