Published on May 13th, 2014 | by Jo Borrás


Lexus Hybrid Ad Takes Ignorant Swipe At Plug-in Cars, But May Be Effective (VIDEO)

May 13th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

A new video from Lexus seems to take a shot at plug-in cars, claiming the technology “can actually hold you back,” and running a photo of an EV parking spot with the words “Reserved for Someone With Four Hours to Kill.” It’s a ridiculously conceived, ignorant ad that plays to the lowest common denominator-types who don’t fully “get” electric cars while it downplays the literal billions of dollars that Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, has spent developing EVs, PHEVs, and hybrids. That’s the narrative coming out of most green-car circles, anyway … but, what if this is actually a terrific, dead-nuts accurate ad that will drive traffic away from Lexus’ prime competitors into a Lexus hybrid?

We have to ask that “What if?” question, of course, because it’s not a hypothetical question at all. This is an ad, after all, that upsets the green heads. This is an ad, after all, that plays up to America’s ignorance in re: electric and plug-in cars. This is an ad, after all, targeted at older people who don’t really trust electronics — be they in their cars or in their computers.

This is an ad, after all, that hopes to sell Lexus’ hybrid cars to Cadillac ELR buyers.

That’s right, gang. Lexus, as ever, is gunning for that aging baby-boomer market that Cadillac went after with its “Poolside” ad, which featured exactly the type of 55+ d-bag ‘MURICAN who wouldn’t dream of buying a Prius or Tesla or Volt getting into an ELR. The thing is, that Poolside ad really did seem to speak to the generation that thought “Yuppie” was a positive term (exact quote from my dad: “Who wouldn’t want to be young and upwardly-mobile?”), but it wasn’t enough. Not enough in the sense that the Cadillac ad didn’t convince the silver foxes who are out trolling for Golden Girls to actually buy a plug-in car … but it was enough to get them thinking about plug ins.

Enter: Lexus.

Lexus, who is reminding them that they don’t need to spend a laughable $76,000 on a cramped, 2 door, electric Cadillac when they can spend that money on a Lexus hybrid. You know, something like the 338 HP, 2014 Lexus GS 450h, which has plenty of room, won’t stand out too much (baby-boomers hate that), has 4 doors, and has that all-important Lexus badge on its masculinely-styled snout. The Cadillac? Old people drive Cadillacs, and — as they approach retirement — the one thing baby-boomers don’t want to feel is old.

Expect Lexus to sell a metric s***ton of hybrids off the back of this ad — and expect a full review of the 2014 Lexus GS 450h hybrid in the coming weeks, since a black-on-black GS just happened to find its way into my garage a few days ago (in related news: I’m selling my motorcycle — I need the room). Stay tuned!

Lexus Hybrid Ads Target Plug-in Cars

Source | Images: Lexus, via Green Car Reports.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • Eddy Jawed

    ‘4 hours to kill’ after a long day of driving is OK considering I need 8 to sleep it off! …don’t see the problem really.

  • Tom G.

    I LIKE any vehicle that gets better fuel economy than the vehicle it replaces. That to me is a pretty simple statement. What else is simple:

    “Electric Vehicles don’t go to gas stations.”

    That’s it – a simple summary of my posting in less than 8 words.
    Have a great day everyone.

    • Eddy Jawed

      To add further,
      ‘with Electric vehicles, fuel can be generated at home’ FOR FREE!

  • Additionally, look at Prius sales in The Netherlands, always one of Toyota’s best markets. The uptick at the end of 2013 was due to the weakening of incentives for plugin cars per 1-1-2014, and people scrambled to lay their hands on any plugin car. But since 1-1-2014 sales have really fallen off a cliff.

    Once one of their strongest offerings, the Prius has become a niche vehicle. The hybrid Auris has cannibalised on a lot of Prius sales and EV’s have taken over the ‘green/futuristic’ aura that helped sales to skyrocket in years past. Hybrids have become a commodity and now that innovation has stalled at Toyota, there is no more justification for the Prius subbrand. It doesn’t stand for anything else than ‘former glory’. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Prius subbrand is axed very soon (like in the next two years).

    • Eddy Jawed

      I’m sure the depleting resource of oil and its inevitable rising costs at the pump will make Toyota and the public change their mind.

  • Reality starts sinking in.

    They made the wrong bet. The hydrogen car that they will be marketing from next year is still a prototype that they probably are forced to sell at a price below production costs. On top of that, the chicken has no eggs: refuelling infrastructure is lacking and will be for quite some time. They’ll find it is next to impossible to compete with that private petrol station in each garage (and free Supercharging along the motorhways for those lucky enough to own a Tesla).

    So they asked the marketing department to fix their error by buying some time.

    Very sad for former technology leader Toyota.

  • Matt

    There is now a TESLA dealer in Cin Ohio. The place where the end of the world will arrive 10-20 years late. So you know the EV are main stream now. Can you say, Lexus has no plug-in! Board “what do we do about not having a plug-in?” oh well I know lets act like we think it will never catch on.

  • dgaetano

    I look forward to the inevitable drag strip videos showing Model S’s smoke this car. Silently.

    • Ha, a Tesla fan or two should definitely make a response video. 😀

  • No way

    I love this… desperate moves from companies who feel the EV’s coming strong and who don’t want to commit to green cars.

    There is no fighting the rEVolution.

    • ” and who don’t want to commit to green cars.”

      That’s the last thing I would ever say about Toyota, hybrid pioneer.

      • No way

        What you have done and what you are doing are two separate things. They were pioneers now they are rather trying to hold things back.

        • They are committed. To the wrong horse. But committed nonetheless.

          • Tom G.

            Maybe we would all be a little better off if we committed ourselves to obtaining “clean air to breath and water to drink” for everyone on this planet.

            Isn’t that something everyone would want to achieve?

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