[tweetmeme]Toyota in the first quarter of 2008 has just overtaken General Motors as the #1 automaker in the world in terms of global sales. And part of that success comes from their hybrid car innovation, the Prius.
San Francisco Chronicle has a great article on how Prius came about in Toyota. Legend has it that Toyota executives believed that the ever-increasing pressures on oil and gas, as well as the pressure on oil and gas prices due to the emergence of China and India as industrial powers, would put significant pressure on the world’s oil supply. As such, Toyota engineers proposed a small-fuel efficient car.
So what lessons can be gained from the success of Toyota Prius? Robert Herbold in his book “Seduced by Success” discusses the lessons we can learn from Toyota:
- Toyota anticipated a key inflection point –rising gasoline prices — and assigned top talent to investigate its impact
- Do a thorough job of reading the marketplace.
- Study and reapply what works. Honda was the first in the market with electric cars, but failed. Toyota took full advantage of the learning and came up with a creative solution to the problem
Here are some other articles on the success of Toyota Prius:
- New York Times Say ‘Hybrid’ and Many People Will Hear ‘Prius’
- NPR Toyota’s Car of the Future Had Distinctive Beginning
- Fortune Magazine The Birth of the Prius