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Chris Bruce2011-11-14 19:12:58

Hybrid Sales Hurting in US but Maybe Too Soon to Write Them Off

Hybrid Sales Hurting in US but Maybe Too Soon to Write Them Off


Hybrid sales are taking a beating in the US. Sales of hybrids in general are down, and due to upcoming increased average fuel economy standards, auto makers are raising their fuel economies anyway. 

The Prius is still the most popular hybrid in the US, but sales are down 9.4% compared to last year, while car sales overall are up 10%. People are even searching for hybrid cars less on Kelly Blue Book's web site, an organization that collects information about the average prices for used cars. 

It might be too soon to write off hybrids. The best hybrids available right now are coming from Japan, specifically Toyota and Honda. Both of whom are still dealing with the tsunami that hit several months ago.

Also it does not look like Toyota is too scared about the waning popularity of hybrids. It has introduced two new versions of the Prius this year - the plug-in hybrid version and Prius V wagon- and it plans to bring out a Prius coupe sometime next year. It certainly seems to be betting on hybrids in its future. 

We have done several stories about the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show on Autoviva, and HondaMitsubishi and Suzuki are all showing electric vehicles at the show. The Japanese market certainly seems to be making electric vehicles a large portion of its future. 

Finally, a lot of the first generation of electric vehicles that we are seeing now are really hybrids in disguise. The Chevrolet Volt might be marketed as an electric car, but there is a gasoline-powered generator under the hood. While not constantly in operation, that is a hybrid of gasoline and electric power. 

The problem with looking at sales of anything in the US right now is just how bad the market is. While car sales are up, they have been down for a long period up until now. People are not really buying cars out of desire, it is because whatever vehicle they had does not work for them anymore. Hybrids tend to be more expensive, and some people do not like the green image that they exude. 

Before writing the obituary for hybrids, lets make sure they are really dead.

Source: The Green Car Web Site


Prius Gen.3Prius Gen.3




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