By on November 9, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota’s going to market the new Prius Prime with laser-like precision. Is it because they want to embrace cutting-edge advertising methods, or is it because they don’t see it as a vehicle with particularly broad appeal?

That, BMW thinks it might want to keep an unpopular model around for another generation, Volvo issues a voluntary recall on seat belts, and Toyota and Nissan agree that their prospects have looked better in North America… after the break!

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota uses targeted TV to sell the Prius Prime

Instead of running a national television advertising campaign, Toyota’s media plan is much more focused and includes one of the company’s largest “addressable TV” purchases in history.

Automakers like targeted advertising because they can zero in on households with the ideal incomes, interests, and expiration dates on their car leases. Toyota likes addressable TV because it means it can target Prius Prime ads at college-educated people, environmentalists, and those between 18 and 49 with household incomes above $75,000.

While brands have always endeavored to reach their customer base through advertising, addressable TV allows television to become nearly as selective as the internet in terms of who sees what. As automakers frequently have various products aimed at drastically different customers, they’ve become early adopters of the technology.

Advertising Age writes:

Other automakers that have recently made addressable buys include Hyundai, which is currently using the method to run ads for its new luxury Genesis brand by targeting households with incomes of $100,000 or more. “We use it because we understand that that’s one of the most targeted forms of getting a big screen to light up with our message in the exact households you want it to,” said Hyundai Motor America Chief Marketing Officer Dean Evans. “We understand it’s got its limited reach today,” he added. But “we think we have to go there just to become smarter marketers.”

The Prius Prime starts at $27,100 before shipping, and is eligible for a federal tax credit of $4,500. If you are an 18- to 49-year-old environmentally minded professional, expect to see ads for Toyota’s new plug-in.

BMW i3 New York

BMW probably won’t abandon the i3 just yet

It seems that BMW is going to continue on with the i3, despite sales being well below expectations.

When Automotive News asked Heinrich Schwackhoefer, i3 project manager, if a replacement is in the cards, he said, “I firmly expect that. It’s not the sentiment within the company that it’s been a failure — absolutely not at all.”

However, failure may be an apt word, as sales have been dismal for the subcompact EV. BMW only sold 443 of them in the U.S. last month and the i3 is routinely outsold by Nissan’s Leaf and more expensive offerings from Tesla. Still, the little electric has made more of a home for itself in densely populated cities than the Mitsubishi i MiEV ever managed.

“The “i’ subbrand is stable and you can count on a successor to the i3, but I cannot say when that will be,” Schwackhoefer said.


Volvo voluntarily issues seatbelt recall

Volvo is recalling about 74,000 late-model vehicles in the U.S. and another 5,000 in Canada. The company is concerned that a issue with the seat belts might inadequately restrain passengers in the event of a crash.

The affected vehicles include Volvo’s S60, S90, V60, XC60 and XC90 from the 2016-17 model years. Volvo spokesman Jim Nichols stated the problem is caused by a connecting pin in the buckle that could cause the seat belt to work inadequately during an impact. Nichols said the move is mainly precautionary and no incidents have been reported.

Volvo owners can take their vehicles into a dealership for an brief inspection. If needed, dealers will replace the affected part free of charge.

By Rob and Stephanie Used Car Lot Nissan

Nissan and Toyota think the U.S. market is tapped out

Toyota and Nissan are in agreement that sales in the United States have reached the high water mark. Automotive News reports that Toyota Motor Corp. has scaled back its forecast for North American sales by 60,000 vehicles this year. This reduction is heavily influenced by North America’s gradual turn away from economical cars and a return to SUVs, crossovers, and trucks.

Meanwhile, Nissan has continued offering heftier incentives to boost its sales. While the incentives worked mainly as intended, the company still reported a 19-percent decrease in operating profit for the third quarter. Autodata Corp estimates that Nissan is spending $3,607 per vehicle while Toyota’s incentives stand at $2,270.

Automotive News writes:

“The market turned out to be somewhat weaker,” Takahiko Ijichi, a Toyota executive vice president, told reporters Tuesday after the carmaker reported a 43 percent plunge in quarterly operating profit. The North American market “really requires very careful managing going forward,” he said.

[Images: Toyota; BMW Group; Rob and Stephanie Levy/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)]

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9 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: You May Only See Ads for the Prius Prime If You’ll Actually Buy One...”

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    Is the Prius somehow excused from pedestrian safety regs? That front end is almost Old Honda in its lowness and relative pointiness.

  • avatar

    “The Prius Prime starts at $27,100 before shipping, and is eligible for a federal tax credit of $4,500. If you are an 18- to 49-year-old environmentally minded professional, expect to see ads for Toyota’s new plug-in.”

    This 39 year old professional is NOT seeing Prius Prime ads on his school laptop but as soon as he gets home and grabs his personal device to check TTAC: PRIUS PRIME PRIUS PRIME PRIUS PRIME PRIUS PRIME PRIUS PRIME!

  • avatar

    Had to look up addressable tv. From what I’ve seen targeted ads are of no service to me.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know about it either. How does that even work? Your TV would have to be connected to apps of some sort, I guess. But then how does it insert the addressed commercials over the regular standard programming everyone else is going to see?

      • 0 avatar

        Every show has national and local sponsors. Your cable company who controls the set top box is designated as the local sponsor and they can fill those slots as they like.

        • 0 avatar

          I missed this yesterday – so the cable company has enough control on the ads programming for the local spots to -individually- direct it to households?


          • 0 avatar

            Why do you think they are fighting the FCC for control of the set top box? It’s not just for the $8 a month they charge you.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The i3 is a good example of why the traditional automakers haven’t yet been able to compete with Tesla. They are don’t compete head-on their gas-powered cars, so they sell us under-powered ugly machines in the hope that nobody will buy them.

  • avatar

    The i3 may have an important role as a production test bed for carbon fiber construction for BMW, regardless of sales. If they believe that CFRP and electric are important trends in the industry (and those seem like good bets), then staying in the game is important.

    Think of the first several years of Prius sales: they weren’t good, but Toyota believed in the principle, and it later paid off.

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