Toyota is taking an unusual step on their Open Road corporate blog by promoting the idea of driving less. At first glance, this would seem oxymoronic, but Toyota is careful not to say "don't buy a Tundra." They're just saying that once you do buy a Tundra, you should leave it parked in your driveway for special occasions and hoof it everywhere else. The PR folks at Open Road also offer some suggestions in case you actually have to drive your new Toyota, like avoiding drive-throughs (Prius owners with engine shut-off are excepted of course) and turning off the engine at red lights. After all, "Idling is bad." Umkay. So what to make of this unconventional strategy?
We sort of actually admire what Toyota is trying to do here, and we don't disagree with some of their suggestions. But the whole exercise reeks of marketing. The thing is, in this age where "going green" is the flavor of the day, they're marketing better than the competition.
Consider it like this: Toyota is promoting conservation strategies in a direct, forthright manner on its corporate blog at the same time Chrysler is offering to subsidize your conspicuous gasoline consumption. This, despite the fact that equivalently-equipped current Toyota Tundra and Dodge Ram pickups get almost identical mileage (16 MPG combined vs. 15 MPG combined — although we hear the new 2009 Dodge Ram supposedly blows those numbers out of the water). But who's going to win the perception game in the era of $4-and-up gas? After all, perception is everything. [Open Road Blog]