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Despite Prius success, hybrid sales lagging

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The Hybrid Dilemma

Despite the runaway success of the Toyota Prius, hybrid sales are still lagging.

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Toyota Motor's Hybrid Prius is a big success. In June, the company sold 17,756 of these cars, bringing sales to 94,503 units for the first half of the year.

The Prius is a winner; but that's not the case for Toyota's other hybrids. Prius accounts for two-thirds of Toyota's sales volume in hybrids, even though the company makes five other hybrid vehicles, three of which it sells under its luxury Lexus brand.

Honda Motor, one of the pioneers in hybrid technology, recently announced that it was dropping its Accord hybrid. Its Civic hybrid six-month sales, which equal 17,141, are fewer than Prius sales for the month of June alone.

Other manufacturers' hybrids have not been big sellers, either. Ford Motor has sold only 11,444 of its Escape sport utility hybrids in six months, and only 2,028 of the Mercury Mariner version. Nissan's hybrid Altima sedan is a half-hearted effort, as it is not even distributed nationally.

Besides fuel economy, people buy hybrids to make a social statement about energy and the environment. It does not hurt that the Environmental Protection Agency rates the Prius at 48 miles per gallon in the city, 45 on the highway.

Yet I think that the major factor behind the success of the Prius is that it looks like nothing else on the road. All the other hybrids on the market, such as the Toyota Camry hybrid, cost thousands of extra dollars, and yet look almost identical to non-hybrid models bearing the same nameplate.

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http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_cont...-hybrid-dilemma

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The Prius is a winner; but that's not the case for Toyota's other hybrids. Prius accounts for two-thirds of Toyota's sales volume in hybrids, even though the company makes five other hybrid vehicles, three of which it sells under its luxury Lexus brand.

In your face Toyoboy. :P

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There is only so much of a market for Hybrids, and the main point of driving one is in making a political statement.

Kind of hard to make a statement about the environment driving a full sized Lexus.

Chris

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Wait wait wait... the EPA rates the Prius at 48/45? Are those the new 2008 numbers? If so, that's a HUGE drop, although fairly accurate based on my own findings.
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We have an '05 Prius in the shop right now. It looks like it's been through WWIII. Food and junk litter the interior. The seats are all stained with... something (ew). Dings and scratches all over, with a deeper prior dent in the right rear door (surface rust is sooo 1972, GM vehicles use galvanized sheetmetal that doesn't rust when the paint is knocked off), the car is a pig sty.

I kept wanting to ask the older hippie lady owner "Are you sure the golf course won't notice one of their carts is missing?" but I chickened out.

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Apparently, it took the EPA to tell these idiots that the numbers aren't as great as they seem, and that no one is smart enough to realize it themselves.

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Another perspective in this article from MSNBC - HERE

Big increases off a small base make for a large statisitical jump, but the overall volume of hybrid sales is still small.

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MT did a long-term test of the Camry Hybrid (Sep '07 issue). After 13 months and 20K miles, apparently the transition from engine-on to engine-off gets rougher and more noticeable.

I wonder what happens if that switch (I assume that's what it is) gives out completely?

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