LOS ANGELES — Honda is taking a swipe at the perceived elitism of Toyota Prius owners with the launch campaign for its redesigned Insight hybrid.
The tag line "A hybrid for everyone" came from market research showing that many consumers believe that the Prius was priced too high and that Prius owners were a bit too snobbish.
Toyota has done "a phenomenal job" with Prius, said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of automotive sales. But he adds that a "huge" number of people won't consider buying a hybrid because of image or price. "We wanted Insight to be fun and affordable," Mendel said. "We wanted to provide value for the customer."
Mendel said the Insight's $20,470 price tag "was not intended to spark a price war." But it did just that. Toyota's redesigned 2010 Prius will go on sale this month at a base price of $22,750 — the same as the current model, although Toyota says there is $2,000 worth of added content. After the Insight was priced, Toyota decided to offer a stripped-down version for $21,750 this fall. All prices include shipping.