Business Case Studies, Innovation and New Product Development Case Study, Toyota,Driving Hybrids into the Mainstream

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Innovation and New Product Development Case Study

Case Title:

Toyota: Driving Hybrids into the Mainstream

Publication Year : 2005

Authors: Reshma Mohan, Dr. A.V Vedpuriswar

Industry: Automobiles


Case Code: IPD0026A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s No. 2 car maker in 2004, was the first to launch a hybrid vehicle, ‘Prius’, in 1997 in Japan and in 2000 in the US. The Prius brought about a revolution in car manufacturing, and opened a niche market for hybrid vehicles.

The case talks about the first mover advantage Toyota got by launching Prius. It discusses the initiatives undertaken by Toyota to bring their environmental friendly hybrid car into mainstream. The case highlights the growth strategy and brand building exercises adopted by Toyota. Looking at the success of Prius, big car makers like Ford & Nissan licensed Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive Technology to produce hybrid vehicles.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss Toyota’s first mover advantage in hybrid cars
  • To analyse the impact of such environment friendly version of cars and imitation by the competitors
  • To debate whether it was an advantage for Toyota or was it a commercial risk.

Keywords : Business Strategy; Innovations; Product Launch; Product life Cycle; Innovation Management Case Study; First Mover Advantage; Product Life Cycle


  • Toyota in the US
  • The Emission Regulations in the US
  • Launching the 2000 Prius in the US & Europe
  • Redesigning the 2000 Prius
  • Launch of the 2004 Prius

  • Prius: A Mainstream vehicle
  • Toyota: Licensing the Hybrid Technology
  • Pushing the Brand Prius
  • Growth of Hybrid Car Market
  • Sustainability of Hybrids

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