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Hybrid Cars

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.

 

 

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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, Accord and Insight 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 was hooked.

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 cars.

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 market.

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 possible. Mazda, General Motors 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.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

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