Toyota shows Mirai Super Bowl ad, but only in California


As is the norm these days, the ads running during Super Bowl LI this past weekend drew almost as much attention as the game itself.

Automakers are among the myriad companies that expend considerable creative and monetary resources on Super Bowl ads every year.

And green cars make occasional appearances in these ads.

DON'T MISS: Here are the car ads from Super Bowl LI

Last year, Toyota used a Super Bowl spot to promote its Prius hybrid, which at the time was just beginning to roll out in redesigned, fourth-generation form.

This year, the Japanese automaker switched to its Mirai fuel-cell sedan.

A short, 50-second ad titled "Daisy" aired during the game on Sunday—but only in certain regions of California, which is the only state where the Mirai is currently sold.

2017 Toyota Mirai

2017 Toyota Mirai

Enlarge Photo

Toyota limits sales to California because it is the only state deemed to have sufficient hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

Hyundai and Honda have chosen to limit sales of their own fuel-cell vehicles—the Tucson Fuel Cell and Clarity Fuel Cell, respectively—to California for similar reasons.

The Toyota ad centers around a flower growing through a crack in pavement.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid Is 'Heck On Wheels' In Super Bowl TV Ad (Feb 2016)

The flower is inundated with exhaust fumes from internal-combustion cars, that is until a Mirai comes along.

Its driver spritzes a few drops of water on the flower, rejuvenating it.

It makes for a cute bit of video, and emphasizes Toyota's point that a fuel-cell vehicle's only emission is water.

2017 Toyota Mirai

2017 Toyota Mirai

Enlarge Photo

But it's unclear whether you could really use a Mirai as a four-wheeled watering can.

Toyota originally didn't intend to run a Super Bowl ad this year, but made a decision to run the Mirai ad in California "within the past few weeks," according to Automotive News (subscription required).

The initial ad kicks off a Mirai advertising campaign that will run through July, the industry trade journal said.

MORE: Toyota Mirai touted in ad on electric-car charging station

California Mirai sales have been somewhat sluggish, in part due to the slow roll out of fueling stations to support the car.

Sales received a boost in the last months of 2016, after Toyota added a special discount rate for employees and lowered lease rates.

Aside from the California-only Mirai, Kia ran an ad for its Niro hybrid nationwide, while Ford mentioned plug-in electric cars and its promised hybrid self-driving car in its Super Bowl ad.

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