Hybrid Car Sales Soar in U.S. in 2004

craigdawg

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 8, 2004
360
0
Sactown
Regardless of if you believe hybrid vehicles truely make an impact on the environment, they make an impact on Toyota's revenue for sure.

Robert Lutz, GM's VP of product development said at the 2004 North American Auto Show that "hybrids are an interesting curiosity and we will do some. But do they make sense at $1.50 a gallon? No, they do not." Fast forward to 2005 and gas is $2.20 a gallon. Doh!
DETROIT - The lure of the Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars helped drive healthy sales of electric and alternative-powered vehicles last year, according to new data that shows the hybrid market has grown by 960 percent since 2000.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=509&e=16&u=/ap/hybrid_growth
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
"New hybrid vehicle registrations totaled 83,153 in 2004" out of 17 million new cars. 0.5%

Still, they are increasing. Unfortunately, they'll probably really take off only when hybrid SUVs are largely available.
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,232
4
my 'rents wanted to get a Hybrid Escape this year, but they were grossly overpriced in Chicago so they decided not to go that route....but i think they are definitely becoming more popular
 

veedubdrew

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2002
172
0
Los Angeles, CA
Well I'm glad to have added one unit to that number. With Prius production doubled this year, a new Civic Hybrid due for September, the Accord Hybrid just added, along with the Highlander and RX400h hybrids, I can see sales of these vehicles doubling yet again for 2005.

Love my car, BTW. ~52MPG on my last tank of mostly city driving. I would highly recommend the car to anyone.

-Drew
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
I want a hybrid Escape.

I know it's kinda being hypocritical (fuel-efficient SUV?) but I've wanted an Escape ever since the first model rolled out in 2001 and this is a way to partially justify it. :)
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,232
4
notjustjay said:
I want a hybrid Escape.

I know it's kinda being hypocritical (fuel-efficient SUV?) but I've wanted an Escape ever since the first model rolled out in 2001 and this is a way to partially justify it. :)
thats exactly what my parents were thinking, except the markup was outrageous on them.....they ended up getting a Mercury Mariner instead, i cant say i approve but thats just me...they are happy though so power to them
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
It will be interesting if audi/vw/Mercedes bring out a hybrid diesel. The preliminaries of these beasts are anywhere from 66 MPG->80 MPG in town.

With BioDiesel, these could give the gas hybrids a real run for thier money in all areas.

I currently am running a Jetta TDI on BioDiesel B-33.

Max.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,407
0
VA
Well, I'm thinking if the car manufacturers provide more than the few hybrids out there, you'll see a much larger increase....

But I'm wondering if this is just a fad and that in ten years we'll be moving on to Fuel Cells

D
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
From what I have read..

It looks like there will soon be a flood of cars and SUVs out there.

GM has released a first gen. truck hybrid with ~15% increase in milage. Within two to three years, their recent partnership with Chrysler should produce a newer version with ~30% increase in milage.

Toyota and Honda are full bore, and while VW is on the Diesel path, they have not ruled out a hybrid.

The only manufacturer that has clearly stated that they have no interest in hybrids ( due to cost ) is Nissan.


On another interesting note...

A radio guy here in the states, Clark Howard, is telling people that hybrids probably are not worth it since you probably could not make up the additional cost of purchasing the car in fuel savings at the pump.
I think he is full of it, since one of the 'features' of hybrids are low emissions. Also, I tend to drive a car in excess of 100,000 miles, so I would be able to realize the savings.

Another point to think of is that the cost of buying a car is relative. If you like lots of features on a car, you will pay more than someone that likes no frills. If you are relatively stupid and let the car salesman rip you off, either through needless add-ons, or through higher than needed car loan rates, you will pay more than someone who is car and finance savvy.

What all people are subject to, however, is the constant risk of price they take when filling up at the pump. I purchased my SUV in 1998. Fuel was less than $1 per gallon. Seven years later, it is two and a half times that.

If I buy a hybrid today, I risk that fuel will drop back to ~$1 ( although reallllyyy unlikely ), or may go up to $5. I will however feel better knowing I am doing my part not to smog up the skies.


Wow this soap box got really high all of a sudden...

I digress...

Max.
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
But I'm wondering if this is just a fad and that in ten years we'll be moving on to Fuel Cells
In really recent research, as far as I can tell, these changes are evolutionary steps to a untold plan.

Most of the manufacturers are acting, and planning over the next 5 years as if fuel will never come down again, and in fact will continue to go up.

As a result, you are seeing Chrysler release a Jeep liberty diesel with bio-diesel in the tank shipping from the factory. VW is expanding it's line of TDIs. GM is working with Isuzu on the next Generation clean Diesel technologies. GM and Chrysler are working together to develop the next generation of hybrid technologies.

All have announced a vehicle based on everything mentioned before to be released no later than 2009.

I'd say this fad is comparable to people using the internet.


The trend seems to be lower emissions and more fuel economy. This seems to be an interesting development in light of the current US administration, but I guess economics do really speak louder than politics.

I say bring it on....

Max.
 

MacRy

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2004
4,241
4,917
England
Perhaps this will balance out Mr Bush's plans to increase pollution around the world. The Kyoto treaty dodging git....
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,091
3,383
Twin Cities Minnesota
maxvamp said:
It will be interesting if audi/vw/Mercedes bring out a hybrid diesel. The preliminaries of these beasts are anywhere from 66 MPG->80 MPG in town.

With BioDiesel, these could give the gas hybrids a real run for thier money in all areas.

I currently am running a Jetta TDI on BioDiesel B-33.

Max.
Whoo hoo. an other VW follower :)

I currently drive a 00 Passat 1.8t as my Daily driver, I wanted a V6 TDI, but they decided not to make it compatible with the US's high sulfur diesel at the time.

I am currently looking to get an Audi A3 TDI PD. I would expect to see allot of new offerings at NAIAS 2006 in regards to VW / Audi and other German manufacturers in the regards of low sulfur diesel engines. The delay causing the slow release of Diesel engines in the US has been the fact that our government has been slow to push changing to low sulfur fules.

The company I am really watching is BMW, with their Hydrogen concepts. They alredy have a sucsessfull program run with bi-fulel Hydrogen / Gasoline 7 series cars functioning in Germany. The biggest battle BMW has is spreading the load of building Hydrogen refuel stations around Europe, and to start a program in the US.

The nice point of the Bi-Fuel engines is it lets the owner run on Gasoline when there is no Hydrogen available for the engine to burn.
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,091
3,383
Twin Cities Minnesota
maxvamp said:
From what I have read..

It looks like there will soon be a flood of cars and SUVs out there.

GM has released a first gen. truck hybrid with ~15% increase in milage. Within two to three years, their recent partnership with Chrysler should produce a newer version with ~30% increase in milage.

Toyota and Honda are full bore, and while VW is on the Diesel path, they have not ruled out a hybrid.

The only manufacturer that has clearly stated that they have no interest in hybrids ( due to cost ) is Nissan.


On another interesting note...

A radio guy here in the states, Clark Howard, is telling people that hybrids probably are not worth it since you probably could not make up the additional cost of purchasing the car in fuel savings at the pump.
I think he is full of it, since one of the 'features' of hybrids are low emissions. Also, I tend to drive a car in excess of 100,000 miles, so I would be able to realize the savings.

Another point to think of is that the cost of buying a car is relative. If you like lots of features on a car, you will pay more than someone that likes no frills. If you are relatively stupid and let the car salesman rip you off, either through needless add-ons, or through higher than needed car loan rates, you will pay more than someone who is car and finance savvy.

What all people are subject to, however, is the constant risk of price they take when filling up at the pump. I purchased my SUV in 1998. Fuel was less than $1 per gallon. Seven years later, it is two and a half times that.

If I buy a hybrid today, I risk that fuel will drop back to ~$1 ( although reallllyyy unlikely ), or may go up to $5. I will however feel better knowing I am doing my part not to smog up the skies.


Wow this soap box got really high all of a sudden...

I digress...

Max.
VW / Audi has been playing with Fuel Cell as their primary goal, they also like you have said decided to stick with Diesel for their primary eco engine. Now that Low Sulfur is going to become more of a reality we will start to see more diesel engines available in the US.
 

mac-er

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,455
0
I like how everyone is buying these hybrids with no idea of resale value of them.

I think the battery packs in these things last 6-10 years. What happens then?

Who would want to buy the car from you with no battery usefulness?
What trade-in value would you get for a car like that?
What will it cost to replace the batteries? $1000? $10,000?
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
With China and India coming on line we arent going to see cheap gas and Detroit again got caught looking stupid while Toyota was thinking about this. Its a perfect example of shortsighted greed by GM,Ford and Chrysler. What did they learn from the gas crunch of the 70s? Nothing. In fact im sure with their lobbiest they are pushing congress to never inact something as common sense as increased fuel economy for all Auto's. We dont need 300 hp to get to work or get grocerys but thats what they have been pushing.
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,091
3,383
Twin Cities Minnesota
Dont Hurt Me said:
With China and India coming on line we arent going to see cheap gas and Detroit again got caught looking stupid while Toyota was thinking about this. Its a perfect example of shortsighted greed by GM,Ford and Chrysler. What did they learn from the gas crunch of the 70s? Nothing. In fact im sure with their lobbiest they are pushing congress to never inact something as common sense as increased fuel economy for all Auto's. We dont need 300 hp to get to work or get grocerys but thats what they have been pushing.
I Totally agree with the HP issue. I love high HP, but It needs to be fuel efficient, and last long if it is going to be taken to work. I chose the Audi 1.8t for my engine of choice. it does not have the highest power capability, nor the most "prestige" but it does well for what it is, and I am not burning gallons upon gallons of fuel when I drive it to work.
 

cr2sh

macrumors 68030
May 28, 2002
2,554
1
downtown
maxvamp said:
It will be interesting if audi/vw/Mercedes bring out a hybrid diesel. The preliminaries of these beasts are anywhere from 66 MPG->80 MPG in town.

With BioDiesel, these could give the gas hybrids a real run for thier money in all areas.

I currently am running a Jetta TDI on BioDiesel B-33.

Max.
Are you ordering bio-diesel in 55 gallon drums or draining french fries from your local Wendy's?

Bio-diesel is a great freaking idea.... but where do you get it? TDI's are great cars.. I still get envious when I see TDI Golf's putting around town.
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
Are you ordering bio-diesel in 55 gallon drums or draining french fries from your local Wendy's?
I went to the mechanic because the car wasn't running right. He asked what was wrong, and I told him that I had been running that veggie oil from McDonalds, and I thought I had a french fry stuck in the carburetor.

Actually...

There is a company out west here called Blue Sun that sells real biodiesel at several fuel stations. I don't mess around with any home brew fuel, as I really don't have the time.

I have been running this stuff for about 60,000 miles, and so far, so good.

If you are interested, try going to biodiesel.org to find a station near you. They are available around the US.

Max.
 

craigdawg

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 8, 2004
360
0
Sactown
maxvamp said:
Most of the manufacturers are acting, and planning over the next 5 years as if fuel will never come down again, and in fact will continue to go up.
I agree. Fuel prices skyrocketed on speculation, people adjusted and they've remained high.

The manufacturers would argue that consumers are asking for more HP. Since when do the manufacturers listen to customers? Would we have had the Aztek? Would GM have killed the Camaro? The auto industry is reactive like the movie industry. Someone else has to prove the business model is viable then everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Thank goodness Toyota proved hybrids translate into sales. No idea if it's profitable, but Toyota has a lot of cash to fool around with. (I suppose they wouldn't have released a Highlander hybrid or Lexus RX if it wasn't profitable).
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
mac-er said:
I like how everyone is buying these hybrids with no idea of resale value of them.

I think the battery packs in these things last 6-10 years. What happens then?

Who would want to buy the car from you with no battery usefulness?
What trade-in value would you get for a car like that?
What will it cost to replace the batteries? $1000? $10,000?
In all reality, What is a 10 year old car worth? If I have had them, less than $1000.

Still, you bring up a good point. Will it be possible to keep one of these beasts for more than 6-10 years? Will this be a forced upgrade? What will the dead battery packs do to the environment?

Just thoughts....

Max.
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,232
4
the batteries on the hybrids cost around $4000 from what i have heard, but given that they are becoming more popular the prices will decrease by the time that the first generations batteries are going off the deep end...
 
I think biodiesel and other renewable fuels coupled with hybrid tech are really the only way to go. Fuel cells are 20 years off at best and the technology will never live up to the promise. There is no magical answer. We will run out of oil soon, and the average person won't be able to afford it long before that. The only hope we have to avoid total economic apocalypse is to move to renewable fuels, and we really should have done that 15 years ago.
 

cr2sh

macrumors 68030
May 28, 2002
2,554
1
downtown
anonymous161 said:
I think biodiesel and other renewable fuels coupled with hybrid tech are really the only way to go. Fuel cells are 20 years off at best and the technology will never live up to the promise. There is no magical answer. We will run out of oil soon, and the average person won't be able to afford it long before that. The only hope we have to avoid total economic apocalypse is to move to renewable fuels, and we really should have done that 15 years ago.
So buy 15 acres, build a house with energy panels, dig a garden and bunker down... become self-reliant... maybe take up growing peanuts.

That's if the bird flu doesn't get us first, right?

Hybrids are nice, but they're not the answer. 40 miles a gallon is nice, but these are alpha models... I'll buy in when the deltas are breaking the 200mpg barrier.