Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

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Thread: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

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    Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Hybrid sales forecasts cautious



    Toyota's aim for U.S. may be too lofty

    August 11, 2005

    BY RICK POPELY
    CHICAGO TRIBUNE

    Toyota's bold prediction that it would sell 600,000 hybrid vehicles annually in the United States by early next decade has been met with a collective "We'll see how it goes" from the rest of the industry.

    In a forum on future engines at the automotive Management Briefing Seminars last week in Traverse City, the domestic automakers and Honda took the road of caution.

    Honda sells hybrids now and the others plan to roll out gas-electric models over the next few years, but none would venture a sales projection.

    Ford says it will add three models by 2008, giving it five, and will have its second generation of the technology on the road by then.

    "That won't be our last," said Mary Ann Wright, director of Ford's fuel-cell program. "But we're not in a race with Toyota."

    Even Honda, the first to offer a hybrid in the United States with the 2000 Insight, has not projected beyond the 50,000 hybrids it expects to sell this year because of uncertainty over demand.

    "We have to see what the market is, so we really take it one step at a time," said John German, American Honda's manager of environmental and energy analyses.

    Besides the Insight, Honda has hybrid versions of the Accord and Civic but hasn't announced others. "We literally haven't made up our minds about what our next hybrid will be," German said.

    What does Toyota see that the others don't? For one, it has received a public edict from the top. Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe recently set a goal of selling 1 million hybrids globally by early next decade, with 600,000 expected to be sold in America, its largest market.

    Hybrid vehicles are powered by gasoline and electricity; the engine switches between the two, thus improving mileage and reducing emissions.

    Toyota announced last week that it will introduce 10 hybrids over the next six or seven years. "We'll be in all segments" to reach the 600,000-vehicle goal, about 25% of Toyota's expected sales volume, said Dave Hermance, Toyota's executive environmental engineer.

    J.D. Power and Associates is not so sure. The research organization sees hybrid sales industrywide leveling off at around 650,000 vehicles per year by 2012.

    The reason? Cost, says Anthony Pratt, J.D. Power's senior manager of global powertrain research.

    Power says gas-electrics cost more, about $2,300 to $11,000 more than gasoline-powered cars. Moreover, the American automakers and Honda are exploring more efficient gas engines, diesels and even natural-gas vehicles that will be alternatives by then.

    But costs are declining as Toyota gains experience, said Hermance, who insists the talk that Toyota sells hybrids at a loss is inaccurate.

    Hermance also says the electric motors, software and batteries it develops for hybrids can transfer to hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which are considered the vehicle of the future.

    Ford has said it will limit sales of its hybrid models to about 20,000 this year partly because it can't get more batteries and other components. Hermance says that is not an issue for Toyota, which develops the hardware and software in-house and gets its batteries from a joint venture with Panasonic.

    Though the other manufacturers are cautious about hybrids, they aren't blind to their possibilities. They are designing vehicles so they can easily add the necessary hardware, particularly the bulky battery packs, if demand warrants.

    Continued...
    http://www.freep.com/money/autonews/...e_20050811.htm

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Hybrids...the new SUV?

    I doubt it.
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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Toyota needs Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington and the rest of the "it's all America's fault" crowd to continue to hype these.
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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Slim
    Hermance also says the electric motors, software and batteries it develops for hybrids can transfer to hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which are considered the vehicle of the future.
    Yeah, there the vehicles of the future when Toyota says so, but when GM does, everyone says no.
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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny smallblock
    Yeah, there the vehicles of the future when Toyota says so, but when GM does, everyone says no.
    So true.

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Kind of nice to see the rest of the industry looking at Toyota and shaking their heads while saying, "no, you're quite off your rocker on that one," when it comes to hybrid sales.

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Slim
    Toyota's bold prediction that it would sell 600,000 hybrid vehicles annually in the United States by early next decade has been met with a collective "We'll see how it goes" from the rest of the industry.
    Hahaha, yea, i'll see how it goes.
    I'll make a new sig. Later.
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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    I'd like to see Toyota spend every cent they have on Hybrids and fail big time. Unfortunately it won't happen because the media will see to it that every decision Toyota makes is a good one!

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Quote Originally Posted by Road Kill
    I'd like to see Toyota spend every cent they have on Hybrids and fail big time. Unfortunately it won't happen because the media will see to it that every decision Toyota makes is a good one!
    Yeah, I would love to see that too, but you are probably so right about the media. It's a shame.

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    The only people who are gonna sell that many will be GM and DCX... And that's because their hybrid system will be smaller, tucked away, and connected to the tranny... The Toyohonda system is just too expensive and needlesly complex...

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    I don't mind the hybrid in concept, but I wish it was cheaper and simpler. I could really see things like direct gas injection, displacement on demand, flex fuels, diesel, CVT, engine shut off, aluminum frames and chassis', and other lightweight but crashworthy materials paying off better in the interim.

    As an example, a simple car like a say, Altima or Ford Taurus, using greater use of aluminum all over and bringing the costs of that down first. If they could trim 10-15% of the weight of a typical sedan, but retain crashworthiness. That's a great start. That allows other components to be lightened a bit as well. Then, the car can be propelled by a fuel efficient but still zippy four cylinder mated to a CVT for gas mileage. Add the shut off, DoD, other tricks and lets see where that gets us.

    If they could look for things like this first, and try to get 10-20% mpg increases that would be helpful and not that far from what hybrid owners see in improved mileage anyways.

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    Re: Hybrid sales forecasts cautious

    Quote Originally Posted by Askani
    The only people who are gonna sell that many will be GM and DCX... And that's because their hybrid system will be smaller, tucked away, and connected to the tranny... The Toyohonda system is just too expensive and needlesly complex...
    Amazingly, the GM system foes beyond being connected to the tranny, IT is the tranny! It is in it, the two motors are there and act as part of the gearing, the hybrid system replaces the regular transmission, it fits in the space of the old trans, all they have to do is add a big battery and control systems as well as some smaller motors to run A/C and power steering and such and the standard Tahoe becomes a hybrid. It will look the same and perform the same if not better.

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