Not everyone is a fan of the Prius, which shouldn’t be a shock to really anyone. Still, it’s interesting that a new report from Networked Insights, an analytics software company based in Chicago, claims that the hybrid car is taking such a harsh beating on social media that it’s hitting unprecedented levels.
Networked Insights says that the Prius has seen its brand health on social media go down by 50 percent during just the past year. To determine that, discussions about hybrid cars on social media sites were examined. The Prius was mentioned by name only 17 percent of the time. About 15 percent of Prius-themed conversations treated the car in a negative way, which is a larger chunk than has been recorded before.
The report goes on to shed light on how the Prius is portrayed as a “weak” vehicle that’s “un-American.” To some people, this news is shocking and disheartening, while others are wondering how anyone couldn’t have been aware of the hatred directed at Toyota’s famous hybrid.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of the negative comments were political in nature, with social media users connecting the Prius to “NPR listening, Obama loving, un-American liberals.” Networked Insights also noted that the hashtag #Merica commonly accompanies the negative conversations.
So there you go, some people in America have been completely blind to years of Prius driver stereotypes being left-leaning tree huggers. They’ve missed the famous YouTube video of the woman yelling at the couple in their diesel pickup truck and all of the rolling coal enthusiasts giving Prius owners a thick dose of pollution-filled air.
Toyota has a problem on its hands, because a growing chunk of the population seems to view the Prius in a negative light. The current generation of the car is about to sunset, making right now a critical time. Networked insights says that the automaker needs to subvert the “hijacking” of the Prius image by engaging in some aggressive marketing tactics, otherwise sales could be significantly hurt.
There was one interesting trend noted in the report. Apparently Prius drivers are accused of not drinking or liking sweet tea, which is noted as being completely anti-American. Go figure.