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Toyota, GM, Put Potential Buyers Inside Hybrids

Toyota and GM have launched experiential campaigns to put potential buyers behind the wheels of their hybrid vehicles, MediaPost reports. Toyota is setting out on a national tour and GM is raising the curtain on a new exhibit at Disney’s Epcot center.

Toyota’s road show Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience, launches today at the San Jose International Auto Show, the first of 150 events the show visits nationwide over the next year and a half.

The exhibition provides attendees with the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Prius, Camry hybrid and Highlander hybrid to experience Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system for themselves. Toyota announced (via The Auto Channel) that the exhibition is designed to minimize its own environmental impact. Toyota will plant more than 50,000 trees in conjunction with the National Arbor Day Foundation to offset the “carbon footprint” of the trucks transporting the tour across the country.

A lot is riding on the tour: Toyota has set a target of hybrid vehicle sales in the U.S. of as much as 300,000 vehicles in 2007, Forbes reports. The Japanese automaker sold 192,000 hybrids in the U.S. in 2006.

General Motors said that its new exhibit, Fuel for Thought, at Disney’s Epcot theme park in Orlando, Fla., will tout GM’s effort to be first to market with fuel cell vehicles and its current E85 “flex-fuel’ program.

Fuel For Thought is comprised of interactive kiosks and games, a special floor projection, plasma wall elements, bright graphics and messaging, vehicle displays with information conveyed through lighting and video, and live narrated presentations. The exhibit includes a plasma-screen walk-through of cornfields – a nod to GM’s Live Green, Go Yellow campaign launched last year.

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