Toyota Prius Continues to Dominate Green Car Online Buzz

The blogosphere is a beast fed with lightning-fast news reports, and posts about the trendiest of latest trends. Yet, despite massive marketing efforts behind a wave of electric cars, like the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF, the conventional gas-electric Toyota Prius—which has been on the market since 2000—continues to dominate online chatter.

New data from Infegy, a leading source for social media analytics, reveals 9,822 mentions of the Toyota Prius on websites, blogs and hashmarked tweets in the last 30 days. Meanwhile, the Nissan LEAF tallied 7,192 mentions, while the Chevy Volt was mentioned 5,659 times.

It should be noted that a “mention” is tallied, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. For example, there was a spike of negative sentiments about Nissan LEAF from about April 10 through April 12, when media reported some LEAF models with start-up problems. Those negative comments helped LEAF surpass the Chevy Volt in overall mentions.

Positive comments outnumbered negative ones regarding all the other green cars.

Infegy released the data just before Earth Day to analyze online buzz surrounding several of the auto industry’s leading brands in the electric, hybrid, and hybrid SUV categories.
According to Infegy, increases in online chatter can often lead to increased sales.

Curiously, the Mini E, an electric car offered only in a pilot lease program for a limited time, was mentioned 4,511 times, nearly as much as the Chevy Volt, and many times more than the Ford Escape Hybrid or Volkswagen Jetta Diesel.

The new data suggests that Prius will endure as a green car brand capable of generating media coverage and online buzz, regardless of active programs from other carmakers to create excitement about new cars with cutting-edge environmentally friendly automotive technologies.


  • jim1961

    I recently purchased a 2011 Honda Insight. While doing research and shopping for cars I drove a Toyota Prius. The Prius is a great car but I paid thousands of dollars less for my Insight and got $1000 more for my trade in. There is something I learned that may or may not come as a surprise to some people. The difference in gas mileage between the Insight and Prius in real world driving is much less than the difference in the EPA estimates. This is according to a few reviews I have read online and drivers who report their real world gas mileage on the EPA website. If you google EPA and MPG it will take you to a website where you can get fuel efficiency info on every new car sold in the US since 1988. It includes EPA estimates and average MPG from real drivers. If you look at driver averages for 2010 and 2011 for the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius the difference between these two models is approximately 2.5 MPG.

  • Yegor

    Yes, Honda Insight is a great deal. It is unfortunate that people do not realize it.
    It is like some kind of conspiracy from the start – Honda Insight 2010 was shut down with bad reviews, Consumer Reports did not recommend it because the base model did not have Vehicle Stability Control (actually now it has) and even EPA underrated its MPG. :(

    I hope more people will realize what a great deal it is!

  • Max Reid

    Yes the Automotive media has bad-mouthed Insight for the following reasons.

    1. Insight is the only sub-20K car which can give combined 40+ MPG in City/Highway and also offers 16 cu. ft. cargo space.

    2. Unlike Prius, it does not have 6K Premium over Corolla.

    3. Success of 2nd hybrid could lead Toyota to lower the price of Prius which in turn could start a race that could eventually decimate Corolla & Civic like vehicles which has only 30 MPG range.

    In Japan, Civic & Civic-H is phased out because of competition between Prius & Fit + Fit-H.

    People like Jim should spread the word about Insight to his friends & neighbors & relatives.

  • Anonymous

    Prius and its bigger and smaller and plugin model will eventually make it a sub-make of its own. Already I see a lot of Prius Taxis in cities.

    Next thing is how the competition between the regular hybrid and plugin and EV turns out.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2010/04/07/nissan-plans-to-install-their-new-ev-rapid-charger-in-every-80km-around-japan/

    Nissan to install a EV Charger every 80 km in Japan which literally covers the entire nation.
    We need to do the same in Britain, Ireland, Srilanka, Cuba, Taiwan as well.

  • indigo

    I often get 48-51 MPG in mixed driving in my Insight-2 and I got it for $17,588. Prius? Not interested.

  • David S

    I own a 2gen insight and all I’ve got to say is… we’re special. Sucks for everyone else, but I still get double takes all the time because it is a unique and uncommon vehicle to come across, plus we get to laugh at the gas station when we fill up while everyone else filling their cars are grumbling about it.

  • FamilyGuy

    I wonder if the “mention” tally for Prius is so high because of the new Prius model coming out this summer. If I were car shopping, I’d certainly want to more about the Prius V compared to the 3rd gen Prius. It seems that new models are always the subject of speculation and google searches.

  • Mr. Fusion

    I really hope Toyota’s talks with Tesla result in some better looking bodies.

  • Jamie Ann

    I am a retired senior who loves road-trips and touring the country. In my shopping for a hybrid I extensively researched and drove both the Insight and the Prius. For me, the price difference between the two cars was not an issue. I bought the Prius because I found the quality of workmanship and materials used in the Prius to be higher than in the Insight. The ride & handling, performance and interior usability of the Prius is also superior to the Insight. On a recent week long road-trip into New Mexico, I drove 2393 miles on 42.9 gallons of gas, that’s an average of 55.7 mpg highway. In my city driving when not traveling, I consistently average in the low 60’s. If the price is the sole determining factor in buying a hybrid, then the Insight is a better value than the Prius. But if quality, comfort and real world usability are important, the Prius is the better value.

  • Anonymous

    - Nevermind. I guess, right now, most dealers will have sold out a majority of Prius/Insight. Sigh. I’m disappointed buyers shifted back to gas guzzlers once the gas price came down. Hey, but ‘this time may be different’. :)

    @Max, I think, (from Wikipedia) production of non-hybrid Civic for Japanese market ended in August 2010, production of Civic hybrid for Japanese market only ended in December 2010 as Fit hybrid is so well accepted in the market. Hey, there’s a wagon version Fit shuttle/hybrid to launch in March. Unfortunately, the launch has to be delayed due to recent events over there. There are speculations that a minivan version of Fit (called Freed) will gain hybrid model during the year, too.

  • Steve Catalano

    The Honda Insight is a cheap car. Cheaply built. An impact gun you find in garages to change tires has more tourque than an Insight. Also Honda is using Gen 1 Hybrid tech while the Prius is using Gen 3. Space, Comfort, and Quality are far superior in the Prius than in the Insight. Also cost of ownership is far less with the Prius than the Insight.

  • indigo

    Steve: you have no idea what you are talking about. Kipplingers listed the Insight 2 as one of the top ten least expensive cars to own over a five year period. The prius didn’t make the list. The Insight 2 does have a limited EV mode.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.plugincars.com/mitsubishi-sets-27990-price-electric-i-car-read-fine-print-107064.html

    Mitsubishi Miev is priced at 28K for the 80 mile range for this 4-seater car. Good price, this may also pressure the price of hybrid cars to go down. Also this is a car with 4 In-wheel motors.

  • Box One

    Steve

    Why not you write that Corolla, Civic & Sentra looks cheap when compared to Prius. After all stupid media compares Prius with Corolla.

    Insight looks far better than the above 3 cars especially with a stylish dashboard, 40 + city / highway mileage and 16. cu ft. cargo space and a CVT tranny.

    Lets appreciate the Hybrids here.

    I also have a Prius.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.plugincars.com/mitsubishi-sets-27990-price-electric-i-car-read-fine-print-107064.html

    Mitsubishi Miev is priced at 28K for the 80 mile range for this 4-seater car. Good price, this may also pressure the price of hybrid cars to go down. Also this is a car with 4 In-wheel motors.

  • Roshan Indika

    can you add solar pannel for 4doors and get additional energy to bettary?

  • AP

    There’s more buzz about Prius because everyone everywhere can buy one–you don’t need a charging station, you don’t have to get in line to buy one, it’s proven technology, it’s reliable and durable–as opposed to the still-unproven Leaf and Volt. So you can save the environment and save gas money without worrying how well this plug-in stuff will work.

  • AP

    There’s more buzz about Prius because everyone everywhere can buy one–you don’t need a charging station, you don’t have to get in line to buy one, it’s proven technology, it’s reliable and durable–as opposed to the still-unproven Leaf and Volt. So you can save the environment and save gas money without worrying how well this plug-in stuff will work.

  • Charles

    Yegor: “Consumer Reports did not recommend it because the base model did not have Vehicle Stability Control”

    CR: “it is also less roomy and rear access is awkward (compared to the Prius). The ride is stiff and choppy and road noise is pronounced. Handling lacks agility and can be tricky at the limits.”

    Looks like a few reasons to not buy the Insight.

  • Anonymous

    I think if we want the hybrid vehicles market continue to grow, we have to think outside the ‘best’ hybrid, the ‘best’ MPG. The market has to grow out of the mode of one size fit all. There are budget buyers, there are economy car buyers, there are sports car buyers that are also interested in hybrid vehicles to save fuel, to improve performances. There should be more varieties of hybrid, hybrid SUVs, hybrid trucks, hybrid minivans. A hybrid can can compete with an economy car in price like Honda Insight is a good start.

    We need more choices.

    @Steve,
    I don’t know what you mean gen 1 vs. gen 3 technology.
    From fuelconomy.gov (drivers reported fuel mileage in real-life)
    2010 Honda Insight 47.4 MPG (39 vehicles reported*)
    2010 Toyota Prius 48.8 MPG (139 vehicles)

    * the site categorizes Honda Insight into two models, AFAIK, mechanically there’s no variatiions, so I combined the two.

  • Anonymous

    According to AutoObserver of Edmunds, Apr 12:
    “Are Prius Consumers Too Smart?
    Rising fuel prices this year have resulted in a steady increase in shopping consideration for the Prius. Then disaster struck Japan. News reports started appearing pointing out that the Prius is built in Japan and that supplies may be constrained. How will consumers react? It seems that they are anticipating shortages and higher prices for the Prius and compensating by NOT considering a Prius.”

  • J. Thomas Jeffrey

    Has anyone heard if Toyota will be coming out with a RAV4 Hybrid next year? I don’t mean the EV but a gas/electric hybrid.

  • Yegor

    RAV4 Hybrid is coming in 2012:
    http://gas2.org/2010/02/26/toyota-rav4-hybrid-coming-in-2012-slew-of-new-hybrids-soon/

    Did you consider “Prius V”? It will be of size close to RAV4 and it is coming this summer. It is something like Toyota Camry Wagon.

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