Back in the days of the 2000s, the newly introduced hybrid Prius model made a splashing appearance as the red carpet appearance that followed all the Hollywood stars. Now the largest automaker in the world hopes the same level of general interest would be garnished by setting up its Mirai fuel-cell car as an Olympic podium must-have.
Toyota today called a news conference for its President Akio Toyoda for the latter to announce a sponsorship deal for an international sporting event it still didn’t identify. But all hints point out that major event would be the summer Olympics that Tokyo is going to host in 2020: Toyoda is one of the senior officials in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games’ organizing committee and while on site last month for the introduction of the Mirai’s production process he also hinted that 2020 was “one delivery date we have to be aware of.” Back in 2012 when it was last organized in London, the weeks-long sporting event attracted a viewership of 3.6 billion – which could render Toyota’s fuel cell car a huge audience boost in 2020. That could mirror the successful marketing scheme made back in 2003 at the Academy Awards, when the automaker made sure that actors would be reaching the red carpet in its now-legendary hybrid model.
The Tokyo Olympics would definitely mean a wider audience than the 2003 Oscars, but controlling costs for the hydrogen-powered vehicle is an entirely different game: according to a Kyodo News report from January the price tag for the Tokyo Olympics sponsorship would rise above 15 billion yen ($123 million). But the price of hydrogen awareness would be shared with Japan’s capital and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – as officials plan to spend big money on transforming Japan in a hydrogen oriented auto market.