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The Plug-in Prius: Waiting is the Hardest Part for Dealers and Customers

<-- Goober extraordinaire

Earlier this week, Toyota’s Global President, Katsuaki Watanabe, announced that we are moving up our timetable from 2010 to early 2009 to deliver test Prius plug-in hybrids to commercial fleet customers in the United States and other parts of the world.
I am sure Toyota would be doing this even if there were no Volt and Vue PHEV.
 

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Nice headline. :rolleyes:
Demonstrable mediocrity and a vacuous negative contribution all rolled into a single post.
It just doesn't get any better.


It's probably just a coincidence that the PHEV Vue is coming out to consumers (not just fleets) in 2009.
 

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It is nice to see Toyota react like this, but I would rather see GM come out with a more affordable hybrid. A full hybrid Malibu, Aura and Cruze would help make a bigger impact against the Prius. I think the Volt would just help the image of Green GM.
 

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I doubt Toyota is "running scared" about anything.
True. They probably found they could push up development to get a bigger piece of the attention pie. I wonder, though, if quality will suffer - whether such suffering is unintentional or part of a trade-off for faster development?
 

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I'm sure they are absolutely terrified of a $40,000 Volt... It's not even in the same group of vehicles. This is more to beat out Honda than GM. The Volt and Prius may well be the same kind of vehicle, but at $25,000 for a Prius and $40,000 for a Volt, I'm doubtful they will be cross shopped.
 

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My guess is they are more worried about the pending debut of the Honda hybrid as a direct challenge to the Prius. The plug in version one-ups the Honda and keeps the the game moving.
Agreed........not only is there GM and the Volt/Vue to contend with, but perennial rival Honda as well......
 

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I'm sure they are absolutely terrified of a $40,000 Volt... It's not even the same type of vehicle. This is more to beat out Honda than GM. The Volt and Prius may well be the same kind of vehicle, but at $25,000 for a Prius to $40,000 for a Volt, I'm doubtful they will be cross shopped.
Totally agree.
The Prius and Volt have nothing to do with each other -- they aren't competitors.
Its like comparing the Escape Hybrid to the Tahoe. Sure, they are both hybrids -- but totally different segments.

The Volt does nothing for me. I'd buy an affordable hybrid. But $40,000??? A Cadillac price for a Chevy? Not too confident with their marketing position.
 

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I'm sure they are absolutely terrified of a $40,000 Volt... It's not even the same type of vehicle. This is more to beat out Honda than GM. The Volt and Prius may well be the same kind of vehicle, but at $25,000 for a Prius to $40,000 for a Volt, I'm doubtful they will be cross shopped.
Totally agree.
The Prius and Volt have nothing to do with each other -- they aren't competitors.
Its like comparing the Escape Hybrid to the Tahoe. Sure, they are both hybrids -- but totally different segments.

The Volt does nothing for me. I'd buy an affordable hybrid. But $40,000??? A Cadillac price for a Chevy? Not too confident with their marketing position.
Settle down, GM hasn't actually announced a price yet (the number you quote comes from Lutz flabbing his gab once again).

Also, there will probably be a federal tax credit of at least $5000, so knock that off the price (of course the Prius will probably have one too).
 

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A lot of people on this board are under the assumption the JPN 3 are in some way colluding with Toyota at the center against American companies. Which is just not right.

They don't like each other very much and they view each others as direct competitors in the segments they compete. Honda and Toyota are also each others main rivals not Toyota and GM. Honda is coming out with its cheap hybrid in the first quarter of 09 which I think took some companies by surprise. So now Toyota is rushing the new Prius.

But as much as I don't like Toyota, in the past few years I think they gained an edge on Honda when it comes to powertrains.
 

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I'm sure they are absolutely terrified of a $40,000 Volt... It's not even the same type of vehicle. This is more to beat out Honda than GM. The Volt and Prius may well be the same kind of vehicle, but at $25,000 for a Prius to $40,000 for a Volt, I'm doubtful they will be cross shopped.
I'm going to have to semi disagree with this. I think there's a very sizeable minority of Prius shoppers who can afford much more expensive vehicles but chose to buy one because of other qualities other than fuel economy and price. Maybe it's just the area I live in and the demographics I'm in, but the vast majority of people I know who have a Prius (several dozen) bought it because it spoke to their inner geek. It's the cool geek car with tons of gadgets, most standard. The bay area, specifically San Francisco, is also ideal for the Prius to shine with it's gas mileage (tons of stop and go traffic, hills, low speed limits on residential streets, mild climate means very little use of the heater or air conditioner, and it's compact on the outside and rear bumper camera make it very easy to parallel park, and generally high gas prices). The same people I know who have a Prius are probably also very likely to give the Volt a try. GM actually displayed the Volt prototype at work so maybe that's also a reason why there's alot of buzz about it in the office.

Again, maybe it's just the microcosm I'm in, a microcosm where it's not "do you have an iphone?", but "what apps do you have on your iphone?" type microcosm, but I think there will be a lot of competition between the PHEV's for the same customers the first few years. I believe price will be significantly less of an issue in cross shopping for PHEVs than traditional ICE customers which should be very good for GM. The innovators and early adopters are willing to pay the premium for the relatively new PHEVs.
 

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That is exactly what GM needs to do in this ultra competitive market.
Gotta hand it to Toyota to try and be first to market.
It also means that Toyota now believes GM's hard work will pay off.
I have to agree 100%.

I kinda wished GM had this type of urgency (yes, I'm still scratching my head over the Cruze delay...imagine an affordable conventional car that gets mid 40's mpg and what a huge splash that would make...wait an extra year after production, and then get trumped by the affordable Honda hybrid...that extra year on the market would help Chevy's reputation quite a bit but it won't happen because the Cruze will be delayed for the US...ugh)

Seems like Toyota had plenty of cohesive contingency plans in case their market predictions failed (Tundra), and switch to it relatively quickly...(or maybe I'm just drinking pro-Toyota media bias...and think Toyota has a viable business plan to deal with the current economy while its competitors run around like a headless chicken...to which I would have to hand it to Toyota's PR team for doing a kick arse job...)
 

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Toyota isn't running scared - GM is - why else would a company say they build hybrids when they don't - GM has fraudulently labeled as hybrids vehicles that aren't anymore hybrid than a car that is turned off by its owner at stoplights and turned on when it goes green. GM is the company which says Chevrolet has a Volt when it doesn't. GM's fraudulent advertising makes it sound like Chevrolet is the icon of green - rather, Chevrolet is a fraud - pure and simple - late to the hybrid party - and fraudulently touting and blowing its own horn for doing NOTHING.

Toyota made the hybrid a household name. It didn't hem or haw like GM changing partners a few years ago like Madona ditching husbands. Toyota accepted the loss of each unit sold on the bottomline while GM fretted and whined it couldn't build anything at a profit and used that as a reason to launch half-baked, fraudulently labeled vehicles just so it could APPEAR to offer a hybrid when it hasn't yet.

And while the Volt still isn't in showrooms - GM is now said to have Toyota running scared on plugin hybrids. What a crock! GM doesn't offer a real hybrid - and is no where close to offering a hybrid real plugin vehicle.

While there are many things to despise Toyota for, Toyota is the leader and GM is so far behind that it is scared that it will become irrelevant.

BTW - it is possible that even Mazda is further along in developing fuel-cell hybrid technology than GM is! Take that!
 
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