You'll get a chance to see the new 2010 Toyota Prius soon enough, or you may already have clicked through pictures and details. But, anxious to ensure that they build buzz and queue the car up to meet their goal of 180,000 sales for the year, Toyota has been quietly showing it around to its most dedicated followers.
Or as they're affectionately known, "Prius geeks".
The day the Prius was launched at last month's Detroit Auto Show, Toyota hosted an evening party at the swanky Max M. Fisher Music Center, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The company provided cocktails and a breathtaking array of hors d'oeuvres, but the crowd of several dozen would have had tap water and stale crackers just as happily. They were there to see the car.
And see it they did. After a couple of short speeches, staff ceremoniously pulled the covers off a handful of 2010 Priuses and the crowd swarmed onto them like locusts. The food and drink stayed relatively untouched thereafter.
Our favorite vignette: Bob Carter, Toyota's general manager of sales, breaking off in the middle of a video interview to step out of the frame and ask loudly, "Hey, would you mind not taking anything else off that engine?" He was speaking to a fan who'd already pulled the plastic engine shield and fusebox cover, and had his hands in places that would have gotten him punched if the Prius were a woman. For him, we suspect, the allure may have been quite similar.
The crew at HybridCars.com captured it all on video, and the clip is well worth watching. Around 0:45, you'll see the feet of one big Prius fan waving in delight from underneath the car.
When's your chance of getting the drinks and nibblies, courtesy of Toyota? Well, the chosen few fans will receive e-mail invitations to "The Prius Connection" events throughout the country. If your inbox is empty, don't despair--the car will be at dealers this spring.