Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unintended acceleration from an unintended car

When I worked on various GM brands back in the early 2000's, a consultant came in and gave a presentation that, in hindsight, was amazingly prophetic. He said people increasingly see cars not as cars, but as appliances. They don't want involvement and excitement from a car. They want a blender.

I love cars. I've always owned sporty cars. Until a few years ago when, due to creeping environmental consciousness, I bought a Prius.

And you know what? My Prius was the ultimate appliance. It started. It propelled you to point B. It didn't break. The only difference between it and blender is it didn't make margaritas and it probably had lower emissions.

So the big question is, what happens when the appliance breaks? Especially when that's your whole reason for being?

Toyota is in trouble, because there's no emotional attachment to the brand. You don't love an appliance. You want it to work. And when it doesn't, you move on to the appliance that does.


Patrick Scullin said...

Don't you think most of the people who bought a Prius did so to feel good about being green? Which makes the brand have some passion, not necessarily for the appliance itself, but what the appliance delivers.

When it does so at high rates of uncontrollable speed, well, that appliance is just a wacky ride!

G.D. said...

Well yes, I suppose that is true. Though passion for getting 55 mpg and passion for the car itself are a different thing, I think. And believe me, I had passion for getting 55 mpg. I drove like a little old lady on her way to church, at all times. Drove people behind me crazy.

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Lance Puig said...

I've always been into Mercedes and GMC. Was never really a fan of Toyota.

G.D. said...

If you happen across a mid-eighties Mercedes 300 turbo diesel wagon, Lance, you know where to find me.

Patrick Scullin said...

I have re-thought your article and take issue with your statement that one cannot 'love an appliance.' How would you explain my unnatural attraction to my toaster?

Lance Puig said...

I'll let you know, Gary.

G.D. said...


I loves me the bagel setting on my toaster.