2010 Toyota Prius
Toyota is in the midst of its worst downturn since the company was founded in 1937—but it’s raising the price of the 2010 Toyota Prius by about $400. This apparent contradiction appears to be part of Toyota’s core turnaround strategy: pump up the volume on marketing, and lead with the Prius.
The base MSRP of the new third-generation Toyota Prius will now range from $22,400 to $27,670, depending on the trim package. The change will take effect in late October.
Despite the downturn in its sales and the slightly higher price, Toyota is showing little concern about selling Priuses. In fact, the company had only 4 days of supply of Priuses in mid-September.
The supply might get even thinner, as Toyota plans to spend $1 billion on marketing in the fourth quarter of 2009. That’s about 40 percent more than the automaker would typically spend in the quarter. The campaign will include funding for more advertising and incentives, while granting higher profit margins to dealers. Toyota executives unveiled the plan at a meeting with its dealers earlier this month in Las Vegas. “We see the economy is starting to strengthen a bit,” said Irv Miller, group vice president for Toyota’s US sales unit. “We’ve stopped playing defense. It’s time to go on the offense.”