I come from a New York family of Audi owners. Ever since my mother fell in love with that logo of gleaming, intertwined silver circles nestled in the front grill of a 1986 Audi, no other car had a chance in our driveway. I believe we leased ten or more Audis over a span of two decades and my father still drives one today.

There is a culture of Audi owners. It is luxury. It is smooth. It is elite. And Audi knows this. When you are handed an Audi key-fob, you can unlock far more than your car door. It is the entryway to a community of like-minded Audi owners. You are part of the Audi club.

The club provides beautifully-printed magazines rich in color and high-quality stock. Then comes the hats, embossed keychains, other magnificently-created collateral and opportunities to join the Audi Club of North America.

Now take a drive about 100 miles northeast to suburban Connecticut and fast-forward to 2008. It is my wedding year and the lease expiration on my 2006 A4 was fastly-approaching like the wedding day itself. While I loved my Audi, it was time for a change.

I am not sure how the Prius and I got connected. I believe it was somewhere between the high gas prices and my desire for a hatchback that this Toyota hybrid suddenly became a viable option. But it did not come with a club of like-minded Prius lovers. At least, not at the sales pitch.

PruisChat was waiting for me. It’s not a place that Toyota touts in fancy collateral. This is an independent website for Toyota Prius enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with the carmaker and you have to seek it out. And yet, this site, rich with forums, pictures, news, shopping and podcasts was offering me much more than I could have imagined. While the site has advanced over the years, it is still a simple forum-based site. Topics range from deep technical discussions to new Prius owners just sharing thoughts. There is a homemade Prius convertible on this site. Believe it.

This society of Prius fans is different from Audi’s culture. The conversations are hardly around luxury and more often about fuel-effiency (hypermilers galore). But at the end of the day, it’s not about the type of people or the topics covered. It’s that feeling of finding others and joining together to share our harmonious interests. PriusChat was made by people just like me. Cheers to my new community.

Are you part of a car community? Why does it matter to you? Share your thoughts!


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