Toyota Prius is Most Popular Hybrid Online – Nobody’s Surprised

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, May 30th, 2013

As new technologies develop, the auto industry is able to access data that it’s never had before. For the most part, this data is used to better familiarize automakers with their target customers. Sometimes, though, it’s used just to see who’s better.

20 years ago, automakers relied on surveys and focus groups to learn more about customers. But, those proved unreliable because respondents have a tendency to exaggerate if they think it’ll earn approval.

Then, the Internet happened and authentic customer reviews began to dominate the consumer experience. This resulted in some major innovations… For example, this is when automakers figured out that the interior matters just as much as the exterior design or technical specs, at least to most drivers.

Today, the newest pool of data is social media. With this new resource come new companies ready to analyze it, and that’s where GenSent Insights comes into the picture. According to Automotive News, this New York-based analytics firm performed an extensive study using social data from the months of January through April of this year. Their aim in this study? To assign a dollar amount to the social network exposure of the top 5 most frequently mentioned hybrid cars on the Internet.

So, all of that introduction to say this – the Toyota Prius is the most talked about hybrid online.

GenSent Insights says that Toyota’s “total media value” for the first four months of 2013 comes to $14.5 million. The second most popular hybrid came to $4.5 million. However, since this is so completely to be expected, we’re going to move on and discuss the other hybrids in the top five, two of which are Japanese … and one of which isn’t even a hybrid.

Here’s the list, complete with total media values, for the top five most frequently mentioned hybrids online. (For some reason they seem to think the Tesla is a “hybrid”):

1. Toyota Prius – $14.5 million
2. Honda Fit – $4.5 million
3. Chevrolet Volt – $3.1 million
4. Tesla Model S EV – $3 million
5. Honda Insight – $2.9 million

So, three out of the top five hybrids are Japanese-made, which is pretty neat. More impressively, if you look at it from a total media valuation standpoint, Japanese hybrids accounted for 78% of the total worth shared by the top 5 vehicles. Interestingly enough, GenSent says that the Nissan Leaf was the most well-liked low emissions car, but it didn’t have the widespread frequency to back it up.

For those of you skeptical about how you could assign real dollar value to a completely digital currency – if you can call social mentions currency – I assure you, there is a very complex formula. And I’m also sure that I don’t understand it at all. But I do know that it involves tracking the sentiment, frequency and source of social media mentions.

Obviously, this isn’t an exact science. There’s no way of knowing whether Toyota got $14.5 million worth of real exposure thanks to social media mentions alone. It would probably be safer to call it a points system than a valuation system, but nonetheless, the end result is the same – no one can dispute that the Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid in existence.

Source: Autonews, Autoblog Green

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