This factor is crucial for analysis of rivalry because if substitutes are available offering similar services, the likelihood of buyers switching over to another competitor can be seen to depend mainly on cost.
The cost of the automobiles along with their operating costs was driving customers to look for alternative transportation options during the last decade. The rising gasoline price was bound to influence the buyers. Toyota had an advantage as it was successfully able to diversify itself to some extent with the manufacture of Prius Hybrid cars which saw a rise in sales with rising oil prices. This technology has not pervaded through all the industry as well which puts Toyota at a relatively advantageous position.