Hybrid Cars More than Just a Fashionable Alternative

Oil prices a key driver in widespread acceptance.

Published: 18-Jan-2007

Hybrid cars are predicted to grow in popularity to account for as much 6 per cent of all car sales globally by 2013, says a new report. Sales growth will be driven by a combination of rising oil prices, lower hybrid car prices and canny marketing to persuade consumers that alternatively fuelled vehicles are a sound investment.

Forecasts show sales of hybrid cars will increase to make up four percent of total volume in Europe by the end of the decade. The same picture emerges in the US where Hybrid Electrical Passenger Vehicle (HEPV) sales reached 212,000 in 2005 compared with about 9,500 in 2000.

“Although hybrid cars were predicted to appeal to a niche market of technology savvies and environmentalists, their launch has met with commercial success, thanks to a favourable market environment combining increased consumer awareness, ever rising oil prices, technological improvements and regulatory incentives,” says Christina Belloge author of the report, "Environmentally Friendly Driving - Are Hybrid Cars just a fashion statement?"

Car companies have capitalised on this with innovative marketing campaigns including endorsement by Hollywood stars and sponsorship of environmental awards. In the US, there have been incentives by employers to encourage employees to buy or lease fuel-efficient cars for commuting.

Currently the market is dominated by Japanese companies Honda and Toyota, but European automotive firms are following and will introduce HEV models soon.

Although environment friendly cars are fuel efficient and cheaper to run over time, they still remain prohibitively expensive to the average customer. As most critics have emphasised a hybrid car costs more than the same version of a standard fuel model.

"Environmentally Friendly Driving - Are Hybrid Cars just a fashion statement?" considers the likely future development of the HEV market and whether environmentally friendly vehicles will become more integrated into the mainstream. It is part of a series of industry short reports available as free downloads from new online business information provider, Report Buyer.com which launches on Wednesday 17 January, 2007.

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A new generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology helps the Civic achieve an estimated fuel economy rating of 4.7 L/100km (city) and 4.3 L/100km (highway) - improved from the 2005 Civic Hybrid's figures of 4.9 and 4.6 L/100km.

The new Civic brings a roomier interior, more spunk under the hood, and fuel mileage around 40 mpg on the highway.

Volkswagen Jetta diesel beats Toyota Prius hybrid in 500 test drive between Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C.


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