Hybrid cars are red hot right now. With oil prices at an all-time
high, hybrid cars are just the fix that many people seek. But,
hybrid cars are not the only option. Hybrid trucks, SUV's and
even motorcycle are now available to consumers.
Many people are familiar with Toyota's Prius
as this seems to be the poster car for hybrids. But, Honda's
line of hybrid cars including the Civic,
hybrids are also players in the hybrid marketplace.
In fact, the Honda Insight was the first mass-produced hybrid
on the market, dating back to the year 2000. Not a bad way
to start a new millennium.
But, what is more interesting than the hybrid cars that
are here today are the ones that will be available tomorrow.
All of the major automobile manufacturers have one or more
hybrid cars in development right now for roll out in the
near future. What this means is more choices.
When the Prius was first rolled out (1997 in Japan, August
2000 in the U. S.) the 2001, 2002 and 2003 model years were
deemed as 'gutless'. Only your average tofu eating, tree
hugging, green enthusiast would consider looking the other
way at this imperfection. But, with the 2004 model year,
the Prius started rolling out with a revolutionary Hybrid
Synergy Drive (HSD) system, which delivered more performance
and greater fuel economy than the previous models. The consumer
Not only was the consumer hooked but other large auto manufacturers
took notice and started in earnest in their own hybrid car
development efforts. Honda has not be able to compete with
the Big T in hybrid sales. One of the mistakes that Honda
made with its hybrid cars is making them look just like
their traditional car models. Consumers were barely aware
from looking at the hybrid versions that there was a difference,
until that is, they looked under the hood. The second mistake
that Honda has made is in marketing. Toyota has been far
more voracious in their marketing efforts of its hybrid
In the next couple of years, Toyota will have even more to
crow about as they will be rolling out a couple of new hybrid
cars into the hybrid-starved marketplace. The Camry
hybrid will roll out in 2007 and will be manufactured
in Georgetown, Kentucky. Toyota's luxury division, Lexus will
roll out the 450h
GS Hybrid Sedan in Spring of 2006, making it the
first of its luxury hybrid cars on the
Nissan also plans on rolling out a luxury hybrid within
the next couple of years. The Altima
hybrid will make its debut late in 2006 for the 2007 selling
season. Nissan has signed an agreement with archrival Toyota
to produce 100,000 vehicles over 5 years using Toyota's
transaxle, inverter, battery and control unit. Oh, what
a feeling - cornering the market.
Speaking of cornering the market, Ford has licensed 21
of Toyota's hybrid patents and now is having a hard time
getting replacement parts for its Escape
Hybrid SUV. Apparently Toyota owns some interest
in some of the parts manufacturers as well, which may be
influencing the supply line to Ford.
No matter what, though, many hybrid cars will be hitting the
showrooms in the next few years. And, like other cars, consumers
will be demanding the cheapest auto insurance
and even Subaru
have hybrid cars in development and know that they will need
to bring these to market as quickly as possible to compete.
With Prius sales up 90-percent from September 2005 over September
2004, the public is clearly demanding that more hybrid cars
be built, be delivered and be on time.
The consumer is saying they want the environment once again
to be clean and dependence upon foreign oil be a thing of
the past. And, that my friend is the future for hybrid cars.