Invasion of the Hybrids

The auto giants are putting the spotlight on their eco-offerings at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Tahoe Dual-Mode Hybrid featured below.

Published: 11-Jan-2006

Hybrid vehicles are proliferating, and not just because gas prices spiked to above $3 per gallon last year. Auto makers showing off new hybrid vehicles and plans at this week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit realize that having a hybrid vehicle lineup is valuable public relations for their images.

General Motors (GM ), Toyota (TM ), Ford (F ), Hyundai, Honda (HMC ), Subaru, and Nissan (NSANY ) are all promoting new hybrid vehicles. The total market for these cars, which run on a combination of electricity and gasoline and generally get better gas mileage than gas-only engines, is expected to reach 780,000 vehicles a year by 2012 as new models are introduced, according to J.D. Power & Associates Automotive Forecasting Services. Even so, hybrids would still only make up 4.2% of the vehicles sold.

Ford will have four hybrids on sale by 2008, including the Escape SUV, Mercury Mariner SUV, Ford Fusion, and Mercury Milan. And at this show, Ford also is showing a concept car, the Reflex, which is powered by a diesel-electric hybrid engine. Ford CEO Bill Ford says the company made a big mistake last year by not heavily advertising the Escape, the industry's first hybrid SUV.


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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