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Much like CEO Dieter Zetsche recently announcing Daimler AG had "invented the car--and we will do it again!" (in reference to the lithium-ion all electric Smart fortwo concept), this portentous message seems to elevate the size and importance of the new Prius to that of, say, its own planet. Or galaxy. One can almost hear William Shatner intoning that startup screen's message, perhaps having been paid a few million by Toyota to lend his particular brand of sci-fi, judo-chop, mock serious lingo.
Actually, William Shatner is not such a bad idea as a kind of hapless hero for the new Prius. The brand known for plain vanilla automotive appliances could use a shot of self-deprecation and a touch of humor in its presentation. Especially at a time when driving a hybrid gives its owner instant rights to look down upon all of those other carbon-emitting dinosaurs clogging the roads, a subtle laugh at our recent obsession with energy conservation might play well.
So before we sell any more carbon credits, give eco-friendly shopping bags to relatives for Christmas, or gossip about the neighbor who still hasn't switched from incandescents, I'd love to see an ad with Shatner, 007-style, apprehending cosmic polluters in a pimped-out Prius.
Visit the Prius Chat Forum to have a look and read the gossip about this leaked startup screen for yourself.--Colin Mathews