Hybrid's Next Step is Good PR

Carmakers focus on teaching buyers about technology

Published: 11-Jan-2005

DETROIT - For hybrid vehicles at this year's North American International Auto Show, the "wow" factor is over.

Nine years after Toyota introduced the first gas-electric hybrid, automakers expect to sell 200,000 hybrid vehicles this year in the United States, according to Anthony Pratt, an analyst with J.D. Power and Associates.

Since 2000, hybrid sales in the United States have grown at an average annual rate of 88.6 percent, according to Michigan-based R.L. Polk & Co. But to keep posting those kinds of gains, automakers will to keep improving hybrid engines and keep hybrid prices down. Hybrids currently cost around $3,000 to $4,000 more than regular gas versions.


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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