Remember when the Toyota Prius was really a halo automobile?
Particularly in the late aughts, the Prius met that definition in the very best doable way. The humble, socially conscious picture booster was well-liked among very, quite rich Americans—the kinds who could usually have Porsches in the garage. From Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks to Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Alba, currently being witnessed in a Prius was basically a right of passage for Hollywood’s prime stars, pro sports stars, and other superstars aiming to flaunt environmentally mindful (and socially aware) credibility.
SF 49er Jeff Ulbrich and his 2008 Toyota Prius
In advance of Tesla, it was the Toyota Prius that held that specific location. It elevated Toyota from remaining just a pragmatic decision to 1 that was innovative and progressive. And the glow of that halo mirrored at the very least to some amount on its full lineup.
Toyota appears to have held on to some of its luster with Hollywood A-listers even till now, while the claims at the rear of an Axios report today seem to be dissolving any last glimmers of star energy for the Prius.
I’ve usually owned a Prius gotta adjust that now.
— ✌rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) June 28, 2021
The report, drawing from Citizens for Accountability and Ethics in Washington (CREW) results, exposed that Toyota preserved a potent guide among the corporate PACs donating to election objectors.
Toyota was listed as providing $55,000 to 37 objectors—although it didn’t give it any context, these as with how significantly (or how a lot of donations) Toyota had offered during that same interval to other political pursuits.
Dumping my Prius Key ASAP…#Toyota https://t.co/UtDaygex8j
— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) June 28, 2021
The report prompted cries for a boycott, as perfectly of some incredibly large-profile contempt from stars. Billy Baldwin and Rosanna Arquette were amid an ever more very long listing of noteworthy stars with huge followings who exposed they still had a Prius (or in Baldwin’s situation, a Prius Prime) and planned on dumping it soon after this piece of news.
The Prius has presently been fading as an image vehicle—partly because of to some of the choices Toyota alone has made in latest a long time. A single of them was to publicly oppose California’s emissions rules—even following GM, 1 of the other detractors, experienced dropped its resistance and created an all-electrical “aspiration.”
2020 Toyota Prius Key Constrained
Though GM dropped its opposition afterwards in November, immediately after Trump had no attainable victory path in the electoral higher education, Toyota didn’t fall its push in opposition to California right up until immediately after the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Now Toyota faces a number of uphill image battles. 1 of them is in its system towards EVs, with the automaker declaring that it is not anti-BEV but presenting strategies that only have it offering about as quite a few EVs by 2030 as regulators are likely to demand. A different is the optics of these donations.
Toyota’s 1st mass-produced EV is owing to get there upcoming calendar year. Does this have an effect on how you see the Toyota badge, or are these superstars and many others overreacting? We would appreciate your ideas below—as nonpartisan as feasible, make sure you.