Toyota is a great company. When I was in high school in the 1970s, our family had a Corona. it was a pile of junk—I thought it was made of recycled beer cans.
Fast forward to the present: Toyota is kicking butt. The company stands for innovative engineering, high-quality manufacturing, and effective marketing. Compare, for example, Toyota’s hybrid engines (gas and electric) to GM’s solution to high gas prices.
Here is another example of Toyota’s excellence. This is a brochure about its hybrid engine. The document is informative, elegantly designed, and well illustrated. Companies should aspire to a document like this when they face the marketing challenge of selling new and complex products to “regular ole” consumers.
Toyota also has an interesting web site where people can custom-build a PDF. It starts here.
- Run your cursor over “View PDF” in the upper right corner of the window.
- Select a few topics in the next window.
- Click on “View PDF” under the Prius outline on the right side of the screen. (But not the “View PDF” underneath this one—identical text in two places with different functions is a poor design.)
This starts a process that builds a custom PDF—pretty cool. However, in this case, the process gets in the way of disseminating information, but there are good uses for this capability. For example, when you want only one part of a long manual.
What will they think of next?
It’s a pity they can’t spell hybrid on the first page under the picture of the Prius. Hibrid?
Unfortunately Toyota’s web site is very Mac-unfriendly. When I bought my Prius I wasn’t able to complete the customize/configure form in either Safari or Firefox. I ended up using IE in Parallels.
When the lease runs out on my ‘o3 Camry in 8 months, I’ll be getting an ’07 Camry.
Toyota Rules !
That website is a great example for those that design interactive sites.
A friend of mine has a hybrid Camry and just loves it. I’ll buy a hybrid Sienna when it comes out. I think people are sick of paying for gas with money and lives, and we’ll look back and be amazed at how fast fossil fuels became less important.
Water and food, though, are indispensable, and we have that.
Uh, what’s so great about that brochure? There was way too much info in it. Great if you’re marketing to an auto engineer, but what about the rest of us? Wish they had followed your 10/20/30 rule.
@Ken: I was thinking the exact same thing. I mean, aren’t they all like this? Or has Guy seen some, that are so much worse? :)
I totally agree with the idea of hybrid cars and Toyota is the absolute leader in that, but I’d really like to get some more explaining from Guy about that particular brochure. (Other, that he’s still resting from the incredible Career week :D )
It’s unfortunate that you were unable to recognize what great cars Toyota made in the 70s.
My sister had a used Corona back in the late 1970s, I think it was a ’72 and was pretty old when she got it. When she got tired of it, I drove it for a few years. It was absolutely indestructible. I tried my best to destroy it, I never changed the oil, or even added any, I bashed it into brick walls and could hardly dent the bodywork, it just would not die. I think it had over 200k miles when I sold it, and it was still going strong. I got good money too, the old Coronas were favorite cheap restoration cars, because no matter how old and battered they were, they were cheap and easy to put back to good condition, and would continue to run forever.
1970s Toyotas are still legendary as totally over-built and over-engineered, they were deliberately built way better than American cars in their price range, because Toyota was trying to capture the market, and they’d gladly make less profit by overbuilding their products, if it would gain them market share. This was a well known Japanese marketing tactic at that time. Those early 70s export cars were the most important product Toyota ever built, it made the company.
For those that prefer pictures to words, check ou the latest Toyota TV ad in Australia . . .
Not only great design of a brochure (oh dear brochure-ware), but an example where the customer co-creates the brochure they need. A great example of a company providing the “micro-platform” upon which the customer creates. Now how long before you get to specify things like “nominate a local approved garage and save their contacts here”, “want to set some good satellite ratio stations remotely”, “do you want us to email you a report on the state of your automobile every week?”. Telematics and Cars, The new plastics!
Don’t be sure about water! Wars are already being fought over that and will increase.
Hey, we just did this (self-assembly PDFs – putting the Ikea into Information). OK, I can’t show it off to you all because it’s only available on the client-facing side of our websites, but it’s the first new feature we launched which had 30 congratulatory emails sitting in my mailbox the day after launch.
People Like Control, what a shock.
Hi Guy, like some of the others above, I’d be interested to know what made the Hybrid brochure better than other brochures. I trust your opinion, but if I am to learn from it, I think I need some more guidance.
When I looked at it my eyes really just glazed over from all that text and there is no way I would ever read a brochure like that. AND I’m interested in Hybrid cars and their technology. Can’t imagine my father ever reading that brochure.
Wouldn’t something more akin to an Xplane (www.xplane.com) style brochure be at least a better leading experience that may entice the reader to read more?
Great brochure…except for the fact that they mis-spell “Hybrid” on the second page! :)
Let’s hope their engineering is better than their spell-checking.
Yes, indeed. Still, “hybird” is harder to spell than “rebate,” so maybe we should slide Toyota a break. :-)
The issue with the Toyota Hybrid and the brochure, is they don’t take into account or state the requirements for the battery, or that the battery needs to be replaced every so often because it will no longer hold a charge, or that the batter itself has a shelf life of so many total charges…
You save $3,000 a year or so on gas perhaps, but then every two years or so you spend $5,000 or $8,000 on a new battery, and installment…
Hybrids have a long way to go before they get to where I’d like to see them.
On a side note though, I do like the brochure, it is done well.
A friend of mine has a hybrid Camry. He told me that the battery has an 8 year/100,000 mile warranty.
The most important point isn’t saving money (though I can’t see how a car that gets 60 miles per gallon can’t be cheaper to own than one that gets 20 miles per gallon) but the reduction of pollution and the reduction on the dependence on oil.
Wouldn’t it be a better world if we didn’t care about oil? Then he who has the food and water rules.
You understate the case against hybrids.
There’s no way the average vehicle burns $3000 in gas per year — that’s 4 times the total I burned in my car last year — so a hybrid isn’t going to save that much. You’re off by at least an order of magnitude. And if you translate the dollar cost (purchase price plus operating and maintenance costs) into equivalent energy expenditure, you may discover that the total energy footprint of a hybrid is higher than a conventional vehicle.
Not that Toyotas aren’t great vehicles. It’s too bad Clay Ford doesn’t get it — he thinks we need more innovative vehicles. How about better-engineered vehicles, and then work on the innovation part?
While I can appreciate the brochure from a marketing perspective, what I am most interested in is the technology behind the “self-service” “Ikea-like”, “have it your way” “build-your-own-brochure”. Any chance of getting particulars?
I don’t know how Toyota does this at all. Sorry! I’ll try to find out.
I admit I don’t know a whole lot about the macro-economics of oil, water and food, but if hybrid cars really catch on I can’t imagine that having to deal with all of those spent batteries will be a good thing. I read just yesterday that that somewhere over 80% of all lead pollution comes from car batteries, and that’s just those little ones that are in cars now.
I do contract work for computer companies. My travel goes between the Tri-State area and then some. I live in Mass…
The car I own is a 1986 Chryster New Yorker, it gets 24/mpg avarage between higway and in town driving…
This year alone, I have done over 22,000 miles on the car, and this year isn’t over. The gas tank can hold 12 gallons of gas. That is 288 per tank for milage on average. That means I have filled up a little over 76 times this year alone. Which means ending this august I have spent $2699.52 at 2.96/gallon. Since my car can’t take low grade gas I am being very generous here on the estimates…
A person in the right circumstances can run a $3,000 gas tab if their work depends on travel like mine does. And this year has been very slow too… By this time I am normally up to 40,000 miles in a year.
eight-year/100,000 miles on a car isn’t that much any more. The avarage driver up to a few years ago 15,000 miles a year was low. The average was 20 to 30k a year…
I could do 100k in 5 years… that really isn’t saying much for me for the car. As nice as it is, in Mass the car would take a beating, and it is known for winter that car batteries don’t last long… I can’t imagine a hybrid battery doing much better up here.
Like I said, the brochure is nice, but it still doesn’t give all the information I like…
The hidden point I tried to make is that the purchase price of a vehicle — at least the manufacturing cost — probably has a good correlation with the energy consumed in making the vehicle. Same for parts. So if the energy cost to build a hybrid exceeds the energy savings during the life of the vehicle, it’s a losing proposition. I haven’t seen anyone do this calculation…
You lost me. I walk into a Toyota dealership and buy a $30,000 Camry hybrid that gets 40 mpg. I walk into a BMW dealership and buy a $50,000 5 series and get 20 mpg. This is a losing proposition? :-)
I think what Pops is attempting to say is that not only after the car is built does the car in fuel efficiency matter, but also the cost of upkeep and of course selling prices…
The issue is that a hybrid may be built for fuel efficiency, but the cost of upkeep, repairs upon a car that hasn’t been tested beyond a lab setting, and also may make the car worthless when you sell it.
One thing you forgot about a BMW though, is when you need something repaired the warrantee they give covers bumper to bumper, not figuratively, but literally. Everything is covered, there is no variance on warrantee coverage on parts at all.
I don’t know if the same can be said for the Toyota Prius…
Hasn’t been tested beyond the lab? The Prius? There are tens of thousands out there. This is the Prius warranty. How many other cars have any portion covered by 8 years/100,000 miles?
Every Toyota Car, Truck and SUV is built to exceptional standards. And that’s not idle boasting. We back it up with these Limited Warranty Coverages:
Basic: 36 months/36,000 miles (all components other than normal wear and maintenance items).
Hybrid-Related Component Coverage: Prius’ hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles. The HV battery may have longer coverage under emissions warranty. Refer to applicable Owner’s Warranty Information booklet for details.
Powertrain: 60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts and airbags).
Rust-Through: 60 months/unlimited miles (corrosion perforation of sheet metal).
Emissions: Coverages vary under Federal and California regulations. Refer to applicable Owner’s Warranty Information booklet for details.
Accessories: Warranty coverage is for 12 months, regardless of mileage. If the part or accessory is installed during the New Vehicle Warranty period, coverage is for 12 months or the remainder of the applicable warranty coverage, whichever is greater, with the exception of car covers, which are covered for 12 months only.
You may be eligible for transportation assistance if it’s necessary that your vehicle be kept overnight for repairs covered under warranty. Please see your authorized Toyota dealership for further details.
It’s too bad Toyota doesn’t take the effort to make its cars as exciting as that brochure. With the exception of the FJ Cruiser, everything in Toyota’s current lineup is absolutely BORING! Is it too much to ask for great design along with great engineering and superior quality? Maybe Toyota’s design team needs to spend some time with their counterparts at DaimlerChrysler; it seems that team turns heads with just about everything they put out.
There are tens of millions of computers using Windows… it doesn’t mean that it is a good product…
As for the other warrantees…
Powertrain and rust for 60 months… that really isn’t a great deal… that is only 5 years… And one year on accessories… I’d rather by after market and get a lifetime warrantee on those parts…
Sorry Guy, lets agree to dissagree… you may like the Prius, but to me a car car model that has been out for less than 5 years really hasn’t cut its teeth out on the open market.
Sort of like companies, 9 out of 10 fail upon startup… I feel the same way with cars. The prius is a good concept car, but until it has five to ten years on the market, or road whichever one comes first, when its warrantee starts running out… then we can see how well it holds up to critisizims, and wear and tare.
In cehcking this out it appears that the pdfs are already posted on the site – in all possible configurations, and that the pdf files are not actually built dynamically.
Interesting idea, however – I would personally prefer a good rss feed with full text and images. Funny how many of the non software and news based companies don’t embrace rss more.
You did the wrong comparison. Try the $30K hybrid Camry @40 mpg against a $20K non-hybrid Camry @28 mpg. Then run the life-cycle cost of the vehicles — maybe replacing the batteries a time or two in the hybrid. The question is this: which vehicle used more energy over its lifetime, including manufacturing “burn” and operation and maintenance “burn”? (Manufacturing burn includes mining, refining, machining, stamping, etc.)
[It would be nice if cars came with a sticker that said, “x BTUs consumed in the manufacturing of this vehicle” so a person could do a real comparison, but they don’t, which is why I suggest there might be a correlation with dollars.]
In 200K miles, the hybrid burns 5000 gallons, while the non-hybrid burns 7143 gallons, or a difference of 2143. Multiply by $3 per gallon and you come out behind on the hybrid, at least in dollars. If you throw in a battery replacement or two, you come out way behind on the hybrid.
So, does the extra dollar cost represent additional energy consumption? Is the hybrid actually harder on the environment than the non-hybrid?
I don’t know how you’re calculating your prices. Hybrid with full options is $30390. Gas model XLE V6 with Option package B is $30840. So for $500 you get a hybrid.
And the hybrid’s engine has a 8 years/100,000 mile warrranty.
Interesting. Toyota alongside Mercedes Benz were the two margues that retained trade-in value better than any other car back in S Africa during the late 70’s and 80s. This may still hold true today.
I recall (apologies if I am wrong)it was the Corolla (we all called it a camel) that retained it’s value best out of the Toyota stable of models.
The hybrid is an in-line 4 and the XLE V6 is, um, a V6. You’re still doing the bananas and oranges comparison (I won’t throw Apple into this one).
I’m not sure which option package will make a 4-banger non-hybrid match up with the hybrid, but the 4-bangers start pretty low — like $18.3K. Toss in a single battery replacement at 100K miles for $3K for the hybrid, and you’re still looking at a cost differential over the life of the vehicle that favors the non-hybrid, which may or may not translate into an energy consumption differential.
My point isn’t whether the hybrid costs more, but whether the implied energy savings of the hybrid vehicle are real or imaginary. Since we don’t have numbers on how much energy is consumed building the hybrid vs. building the non-hybrid, I am suggesting that looking at costs can provide some insight.
Keep your stick on the ice…