Green Backlash against Toyota Spawns its Own Website
Last week I wrote about the fact that environmental groups are questioning Toyota’s green halo, because Toyota has joined domestic automakers to lobby against an energy bill with stricter fuel economy standards. As word of Toyota’s stance on this bill is spreading, so is the frustration of environmental groups in the US. Because of the post I made last week, the National Environmental Trust (NET) forwarded me their press release discussing their views on Toyota and the action they and eight other environmental and science-based organizations are taking.
On Thursday, these nine environmental groups ran a full-page ad in USA Today, and they launched a new Truth About Toyota website to, in their words, “highlight the disconnect between Toyota’s public commitment to better technology and higher fuel economy and its efforts behind the scenes to block this important environmental legislation.”
According to the press release, “the new Web site gives owners of fuel-efficient Toyota vehicles the opportunity to send a letter to Toyota North America Chairman and CEO, Shigeru Hayakawa, expressing their concern with the company’s stance on fuel efficiency. In addition, consumers and Prius owners in 15 states will hold rallies at Toyota dealerships to raise questions about the company’s opposition to greater fuel economy standards.”
Imagine how excited local Toyota dealerships are going to be when a bunch of Prius owners pull up and start protesting in front of their stores. It seems suddenly that the drivers of Toyota’s hottest products are turning against the company, and questioning its gleaming green halo. Of course, this wouldn’t be happening if Toyota wasn’t lobbying against the proposed fuel economy legislation. And it probably wouldn’t be happening if Toyota hadn’t vigorously promoted their hybrid vehicles over the past few years, which put them on the environmentalists’ collective radar.
As I pointed out last week, at the end of the day Toyota is just another car company out to make a buck. The only difference is that Toyota marketed themselves as a green company, thereby calling attention to themselves as being better than other automakers when it comes to taking care of the environment. As hybrid drivers, environmental groups, and even domestic automakers are all finding out, politics makes strange bedfellows.
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