There were few cars Toyota released that were more universally hated than the Echo. This egg-shaped compact car was released during the start of the new millennium and Toyota was once again trying to appeal to younger buyers. The car was nothing more than an updated version of the Tercel. But quality was still very poor and the fit and finish were not what you’d expect from a Toyota model.
Sales were extremely poor and the Echo was sold for a few years until there was a refresh on it. Two models of the Echo were available, a two-door and a four-door model. Toyota managed to sell another version of the car that was called the Yaris later on.
The second generation of the Toyota Prius became one of the best-selling and most popular cars of all time. But a few years before that success was the short and stubby egg-shaped Prius that many have forgotten about. Do you remember this weird-looking little car? Probably not, as sales for it were almost abysmal. Toyota tried to market the Prius at a time when cars like this were still very new.
The only competition for the car was the newly released Honda Insight, which also lacked in features and capability. It’s amazing to see just how far hybrids have come from these early days of being vehicles that were fairly limited to drive and own.
Toyota earned some credit by pushing alternative energy vehicles long before it was fashionable. But the first-generation Toyota RAV4 EV was bulky, expensive, and had limited range. The vehicle was sold in very low numbers in California and a few other states. Toyota would show the vehicle off at different trade shows and you could lease one as well. With a limited driving range and expensive repairs, the first-generation RAV4 was just not practical.
Later on, Toyota added modern features and a redesign to the model, which just recently was discontinued after almost a decade in service. It’s interesting to look back and see just what Toyota went through with these first-time designs.
Japanese automakers have had a tough time selling full-size pickup trucks to consumers who were loyal to domestic brands. So how did Toyota consider improving the sales of the first generation Tundra? Slap a Terminator sticker on the front and paint it black, of course. The Toyota Tundra Terminator T3 Edition was released to coincide with the movie released in 2003. The brand figured that the product placement would give the truck some much-needed visibility and toughness.
Unfortunately, the finished package was nothing more than a paint scheme and a higher price tag. There were 850 of these models manufactured in the total run. Toyota hasn’t since done another type of product placement like this one, and that should be a sign it regrets ever building this model.