Friday, August 3, 2007

Hybrid Marketing - Prius Rules...

Karl Greenberg posted a great article on MediaPost, titled:  "Hybrid Marketers Might Take A Lesson From Toyota"

Here are some of the highlights - clearly the stats support the notion that people who buy hybrids want to make a personal statement:

AUTOMAKERS, BOWING SEVEN NEW HYBRID vehicles this year, might want to think of ways to make gas/electric cars and trucks scream: "Hey, look, I'm a hybrid." A big visible difference from non-hybrids, big fuel economy gains and a small price difference have determined winners and losers in the growing segment, say market observers.

...with a profusion of hybrid cars in market now and more coming, Toyota's Prius rules, and consultancies say the car will continue to do so: Toyota sold a record 16,062 Priuses last month--a dizzying 50% increase versus the month last year. Year to date, the company saw an 85% increase through July versus the period in 2006. Toyota reported that among all of its hybrids, it saw a 59% increase in sales in the period.

Toyota, which plans to offer hybrid-powertrain versions of its entire portfolio by 2012, now sells gas/electric versions of four other vehicles, but all of those combined don't come near sales of Prius.

"Prius is a stand-alone car--it makes a statement on its own," says George Magliano, director of automotive research for the Americas at Global Insight, Lexington, Mass. "You see it on the road and know it's a hybrid. And the issue with this type of vehicle is that people want you to know they have a hybrid."

Dan Gorrell, president of Auto Stratagem, a research and consulting firm in Tustin, Calif., concurs. "Consider the hybrid Highlander (SUV). It hasn't sold well, partly because it violates a major issue: you need to look different. A lot of why people are buying hybrids has to do with being noticed; it's a self-esteem issue."

Gorrell says the efforts are driven in no small part by publicity and automakers' desire to position themselves as progressive. "There's been a lot of me-too's. Press has put pressures on manufacturers, and it's gotten into the image arena because if one isn't offering a hybrid then one is an evil gas guzzler. Toyota has played the hybrid card in an interesting way to promote its corporate image."

Toyota has been moving hybrid metal by offering incentives earlier this year--to offset the government's rescinding of the federal consumer tax break on hybrid purchases--on a car that used to have a six-month waiting list. Although there are now 11 hybrid models for sale in the U.S. market, Prius still accounts for over 50% of all new hybrid vehicles bought in the U.S. According to J.D. Power & Associates, it will continue to dominate.


Among current hybrid-version models sold in the U.S.: Toyota's Camry, Highlander, Prius and Lexus GS car and RX SUV; Ford's Escape and Mercury Mariner; GM's Saturn Vue and Aura; Honda's Civic and (for now) Accord; and Nissan's Altima hybrid. The latter uses Toyota technology, but Nissan hasn't marketed the vehicle and has only sold 2,800 units this year.

On the domestic side, Ford has sold over 11,000 units of its Escape hybrid in the first half of this year.

Indeed, not all hybrids are selling well. Honda has seen a modest 6% increase in sales of its hybrid-version Civic this year--but is discontinuing the hybrid version of the Accord sedan, of which it has only sold 2,304 this year, as it sells down inventory.

"The hybrid Accord was the wrong price and the wrong concept," says Gorrell, who says Honda's mistake was marketing the car for performance. "People buy hybrids for fuel economy, and they clearly weren't getting that with the hybrid Accord."

General Motors' Saturn division has hybrids under the Green Line sub-brand of the Vue crossover and Aura sedan. The latter is touted as the lowest-priced hybrid on the market. "I think that GM is doing well with lesser technology partly because the vehicles aren't priced at a premium either, so it's a step in the right direction," he says.

Mike Omotoso, senior manager, Global Powertrain at J.D. Power, says GM's price premium is between $1,000 and $1,500. GM has sold less than 1,000 of its Aura hybrids since it went on sale in April.

Omotoso says Prius has done so well because it fires on all cylinders with a unique look and a pure hybrid powertrain (versus hybrid-assist versions) and market adjustments offering lower-priced versions. "You can see from a hundred yards away, it is the only one of the group that can run completely on electric, and it has the best fuel economy out of all of them. Honda sells 300,000 Civics per year, and the hybrid portion is 10% of that--and from a distance it looks like a Civic," he says.

According to J.D. Power, people are willing to pay a price premium of $2,400 for a hybrid. "One of the reasons the Accord hybrid failed is that it carried a $3,700 premium," he says, adding that it would take ten years to recoup that cost if one were saving $350 per year in gas costs using the car.

He says the Camry hybrid is the second-highest-selling hybrid car, followed by the Civic hybrid. Among hybrid-powered SUVs, the Toyota Highlander is the top seller, says Omotoso. "Toyota has credibility. They have done a great job of marketing themselves as hybrid leaders, and the Highlander--the non-hybrid version--is already a high-selling truck."

J.D. Power says the industry will get an infusion of 65 hybrid models--28 cars and 37 light trucks--by 2010, with sales expected to reach nearly 775,000 units, or 4.6% of the total U.S. new light-vehicle market. Both Toyota and GM are testing plug-in hybrids.

Among the seven new hybrids coming into the market are hybrid versions of Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedan; Chevy Malibu; Hyundai Santa Fe; and Toyota Sienna minivan. General Motors will also offer full hybrids on its Yukon, Escalade and Tahoe trucks. Lexus is the first to launch an ultra-premium hybrid with the $104,000 LS 600h, on sale this summer.

Gorrell says the winners in the hybrid wars will be the ones offering the whole package. "The key will be--do they look different, how are they priced and do they offer that much of an advantage? It had better offer gasoline advantages and look different. That's what's required."


--- Oren

Online Searches for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Decrease as Gas Prices Drop

 What can I say - this makes little sense, but it goes to show that people are far from logical.  We all know by now that buying a hybrid is less about saving at the pump and more about saving the environment.  From a purely economical point of view, it may takes years before fuel savings add up.

Anyhow, here's the story, from GreenCarCongress:

As gas prices begin to fall, so does US consumer interest in fuel-efficient vehicles, according to the latest Consumer Search Index. is reporting a decline in searches for hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars, all of which saw dramatic increases over the last several months when gas prices were at all-time highs.

This is fairly consistent with what we’ve experienced in past years with the ebb and flow of gas prices. As gas prices decline, we are starting to see people searching for crossover vehicles and some SUVs. We have yet to see a sustained movement away from gas-guzzlers. Instead, we find that consumers are reacting to current prices at the pump when it comes to their automotive search and buying behavior.

—Patrick Olsen, managing editor of

Keeping with manufacturers’ reports of strong crossover sales, GM’s trio of crossover-vehicles—the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia—all made the list of cars experiencing a large increase in the amount of search activity last month. expects that crossover vehicles as a category will continue to generate interest on the site in the coming months.

--- Oren

Are Diesels more popular than hybrids?

It looks like another case of tell me which side of the argument you're on and I'll give you the statistics to prove you're right. A few weeks ago we reported on a survey by J.D. Power and Associates that indicated that interest in hybrids was beginning to wane in favor of diesels. While potential car buyers may have increasing motivation towards oil-burners aside from heavy duty trucks, there aren't a lot of these vehicles available to US buyers at the moment.
With a flurry of new hybrid models coming later this year including the Chevy Malibu and Tahoe, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan and others, Power is now saying 2007 will be a record year for hybrid sales. This should come as a surprise to no one as gas prices across most of the country remain at or above $3 a gallon. While the numbers were down more than half of respondents still wanted a hybrid. That's all part of why they are predicting that hybrid sales will increase thirty-five percent this year to 345,000 units. As more diesels become available in 2008, things may change, but sales will probably still continue to climb.
[Source: J.D. Power and Associates, AutoblogGreen]

Thursday, August 2, 2007

US Sales of Hybrids Up 12% in July

While overall light-duty vehicle sales in the US fell about 12% in July 2007 from July 2006, sales of hybrids increased by about 12% for the same period, according to July sales reports from Toyota, Honda, Ford and Nissan. GM does not break out its hybrid sales. The month’s results also saw the combined US market share of GM, Chrysler and Ford drop below 50% for the first time.
Monthly US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported hybrid sales increased to 28,585 units in July 2007, up from 25,626 in July 2006. Hybrids represented 2.2% of the new vehicle sales in the month.

Toyota continued to lead, with the Prius posting its own July record of 16,062 units, an increase of 44.5% from July 2006. (Comparisons are based on total sales volume, not day sales rate.) Camry Hybrid turned in 4,329 units, a drop of 13.8% from July 2006, and representing 10.4% of all Camry models sold. Highlander Hybrid sold 1,205 units, a 56.7% drop from July 2006, and representing 13.6% of all Highlander sales.

The Lexus Rx 400h posted 1,385 units, a 13.5% increase from 2006, and representing 16.5% of all Rx 350/400h models sold. The GS 450h posted 142 units, a 9.6% decrease from July 2006, but representing 91% of all GS 430/450h models. The GS 450h accounted for 7.3% of all GS models, including the GS 350.

Nissan broke the four-figure mark for the first time with its limited sales of the Nissan Altima Hybrid. The monthly total of 1,131 does not include the 500 units that Avis announced it will purchase. The July results represented 4.6% of all Altima models sold.

Nissan was also the only one of the top six automakers in the US to post an overall sales increase in July.

Honda sold 2,493 units of the Civic Hybrid, a decrease of 6.7% from July 2006, representing 9.0% of all Civics sold. The Accord Hybrid came in with 260 units, a 48.4% drop from July 2006, and representing 0.7% of all Accord models sold.

Combined sales of Ford’s Escape and Mariner hybrids dropped 23.4% to 1,578 units, representing 10.5% of total combined Escape and Mariner sales. Overall, sales for the redesigned 2008 Escape and Mariner vehicles were up 2% compared to last year. While Ford’s total sales dropped 19%, sales of crossover utility vehicles were up 40%. on Plug-in Hybrids published a very interesting article about the future of plug-in hybrids.

Here is a snippet from the article, asking all the right questions:

"If more than half of U.S. motorists switched to plug-in hybrid vehicles, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions would plummet by the middle of this century, according to a July 19 study from the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Several automakers are gearing up to their part, but major obstacles remain.

Could the power grid handle such a widespread switch to vehicles that guzzle from electric sockets instead of gas pumps? Opinions differ.

And are millions of consumers willing to plug their cars into a wall outlet just like they would a toaster? Not quite yet, industry insiders say."

Personally, I can't wait to get my hand on a plug-in Prius. Only two minor problems - I don't have a garage at home, and no access to a plug while parked at work...

--- Oren

I'm no longer alone

Well, that didn't take long.

Two weeks after I started driving my new Prius, I saw another one parked at the parking lot where I work.

Just like mine, it was imported from the US (not yet licensed in BC). Unlike mine, it seems to be used (hmm... I guess the Honda dealer's info gave it away).

I don't know who you are - but if you just bought a (used) black Prius in Bellingham, and parked it in Port Coquitlam this morning, feel free to drop me a line :)

--- Oren

Hybrid Sales on the Rise

It's always nice to note you're not alone.  I love my Prius (and the MPG I'm getting).  I also love the fact that more and more people now consider a hybrid vehicle.  With rising fuel prices on one hand, and the recently announced Prius price drop, everyone should be looking at the hybrid option.

Here are the most recent hybrid sales stats (US) from J.D. Power and Associates:

An estimated 187,000 hybrids were sold in the first six months of 2007, accounting for 2.3 percent of all new vehicle sales. Although a sales slowdown is expected in the second half of the year, J.D. Power is forecasting total sales of 345,000 hybrids for the year, a 35 percent increase from 2006.
The Toyota Prius continues to be the best-selling hybrid model, accounting for just more than half of all hybrids sold. J.D. Power said Prius sales also got a boost this year from incentives of up to $2,000 per vehicle, which helped offset a decrease in federal tax breaks for hybrids.

Competition in the segment will intensify in the coming years. There will be as many as 65 hybrid models, more than half of them trucks, in the market by 2010, with projected sales of nearly 775,000, J.D. Power said.


--- Oren

30 Minutes with the Highlander Hybrid

Toyota has been on a roll with hybrids lately, with the 170,000 units sold in 2006 expected to be easily eclipsed this year by 80,000 units or more. The Prius is the obvious hybrid sales leader, but the Highlander came in at a surprising 2nd place last year, with 31,000 units sold. That number should only go up with the introduction of the 2008 Highlander Hybrid, which is expected to arrive in dealerships at the end of September. We had a chance to take Toyota's battery-assisted CUV for a spin during the vehicle's unveiling in Dearborn, Michigan, and we found a vehicle that was spacious and clever on the inside and better looking outside (that was easy).
Of course the single aspect of the hybrid version of the Highlander that intrigues us the most is the powertrain, and from our standpoint Toyota has done a good job of integrating their battery technology into this seven-seat CUV. $3 per gallon gasoline has placed fuel economy at the top of everybody's mind right now, and the 2008 Highlander Hybrid has upped the ante, if only slightly. Using the EPA's new fuel economy calculations, the 08 model achieves 27mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway. Those numbers are exactly the same for 07, but the new EPA numbers are stiffer, and account for aggressive driving and the use of air conditioners. What's impressive is that Toyota managed better fuel economy on a larger CUV that weighs 300lb more than the vehicle it replaces, while working with the same 3.3L V6 paired to essentially the same battery pack.
The 2008 Highlander Hybrid comes with plenty of great standard features like backup assist with a dash-mounted 3.5 inch screen, 19' rims, seven air bags, and stability control. The hybrid can also tow 3500lbs while boasting SULEV emissions. Also standard are and EV mode that can go 1-2 miles at speeds under 25mph while using only the battery. Another fuel-saving technology is Toyota's Econ mode, which helps achieve better gas mileage by governing the amount of throttle that can be used at any time. Click through to read our driving impressions of the 2008 Highlander Hybrid.

Very little differentiates the hybrid Highlander from the standard gasoline-powered model, but the hybrid is easily distinguishable by the different front grille and the the Hybrid Synergy Drive badging. On the inside, the hybrid loses the sequential shift transmission, but gains an EV mode button. The green Highlander has blue lighting in the gauge cluster, while the gas version has red. Toyota isn't exactly taking any big risks with the Highlander's styling, but it's at least superior to the model it replaces. Toyota did a superb job with interior packaging, and you can read all about the updates on Autoblog here. We even have video of Toyota's interior packaging overview presentation.
In our limited time driving the Highlander Hybrid, we were impressed with the vehicle's roominess, its smooth ride, and Toyota's attention to detail. The gauge cluster has easy to understand ways to show battery charge, and drivers can easily note when they're getting the most out of your alternative powertrain by keeping the needle in the prescribed range. During our drive, the EV mode only worked for about 200 yards, but that was because the battery wasn't fully charged, and four bars on the 3.5 inch display are needed for EV-only operation to work. It was easy to run on batteries only at low speeds even without EV mode, and the transition to gasoline power was barely detectable. Steering was light and slightly vague, but that's standard fare in a family hauler.

Toyota sold 31,000 Highlander Hybrids last year, and with the 2008 model better in every way, 2007 and beyond should be even better. The only gripe we had with the hybrid version of the Highlander was that it's only about 1mpg more efficient than the past model. The vehicle gained 300lbs and became more family-friendly, but the point of a hybrid should be to get great fuel economy while impacting the environment less than a comparably-sized gasoline powered vehicle. While Toyota is all alone in the seven-passenger hybrid CUV category (GM has the larger Tahoe hybrid SUV), the folks from Aichi, Japan will need to provide more economy for the dollar when the competition finally arrives.

[source: AutoblogGreen]

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Plugin hybrid TV ad by a power company

AutoblogGreen wrote about the Plugin hybrid vehicle trials the power company Edison International plans with Ford. Seems Edison likes plugin hybrids so much they are singing their praises in TV ads. Here is a synopsis of an ad they ran on CNN's Larry King Live.

The commercial has Earth rolling by big text; Renewables, Clean Coal and Plug-In Hybrids. There is a white background and boxes with video like a lady in a pink blouse plugging in a car. Throughout there is a voice over that says "Small planet. Big challenges and a future that rests on our thinking about energy in new and better ways. Like the wider use of cost effective renewables. Clean coal technologies to transform a plentiful American resource into a greener energy source and plugin hybrid electric vehicles working as powerful engines for change. All aimed at making the electricity we use more cost efficient and environmentally sound. Edison International. Life powered by Edison."

This is probably the first time plugin hybrids have turned up in a commercial for a power company. It's great to see them high on the list of solutions. Plugin hybrids have the potential to be a great contributor to a cleaner energy future and it's about time someone said it.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

Kids say the darnest things...

My 3 year old was playing with his toy cars yesterday, as I was coming back from work.

"Dad, look at me, I have a hybrid car, look, it's hybrid!" - (he was holding a tiny 60's Chevy Impala replica).

"umm... Son, what does 'hybrid' mean?"

"It means the car is electric. Look, I have a hybrid car!"

- How cool is that? :)

We spend the next 15 minutes learning all about hybrid cars and why they're important.

I think the Prius is rubbing off on us...

--- Oren

Monday, July 30, 2007

Prius '08 pricing - mixed emotions

Toyota announced its planned MSRP for the '08 Prius. The "basic model" is more than $1,000 cheaper than the basic model available today. That said, it is unclear whether the new basic model has all the features of the '07 model, or whether Toyota simply introduced a cheaper entry-level model.

I bought my '07 model two weeks ago. Yes, I would have liked to pay less for the car (I paid MSRP), but I did enjoy from the Package 2 discount which was (and still is) in effect. My guess is that Toyota will eliminate the promotion once the '08 model arrives.

Since I imported my car from the US, I did save thousands of dollars in the process. In the past two weeks Toyota has really come down on its US dealers, preventing them from selling vehicles to Canadians. With that in mind, I'm happy I was able to get my hands on a new Prius. If I had waited for the new model, there's nothing to guarantee that I would have actually been able to purchase it.

--- Oren

2008 Prius price drop with the new standard model


If $1,225 is all that's been holding you back from buying a new Prius, August could be your month. Toyota announced today a new expanded line-up for the 2008 Prius, and the new standard model has a low MSRP. Toyota suggests that the 2008 Prius versions sell for between $20,950 (the standard model) to $23,220 for the Touring model.

While Toyota says the total Prius average MSRP increases by $150 (0.7 percent), the low-end 2008 Prius is quite a bit cheaper ($1,225, to be exact) than the lowest-priced 2007 version.The MSRP for the 2007 Prius is $22,175 - $23,070.

You can find the 2008 Prius in dealerships in August. Toyota also announced prices for the 2008 Avalon, Yaris, RAV4, FJ Cruiser, 4Runner, Tacoma and Sienna.

[Source: Toyota, h/t Linton/Hugg]


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lexus announces price for the 2008 RX 400h

Lexus Announces Prices on 2008 RX 400h, SC 430, GX 470, IS 250/350, ES 350 and LS 460
TORRANCE, Calif., July 27/PRNewswire/ -- Lexus announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the 2008 RX 400h hybrid luxury utility vehicle, SC 430 luxury hardtop convertible, GX 470 premium luxury utility vehicle, IS 250/350 luxury sport sedans, ES 350 luxury sedan, and LS 460 premium luxury sedan. Each model will go on sale in September.
For 2008, the RX 400h hybrid luxury utility vehicle receives several styling enhancements including a restyled front grille design, new exterior chrome door handles, a new finish on the five-spoke, 18-inch wheels, and a color-keyed rear spoiler. The world's first luxury utility hybrid also receives seven new exterior colors including Smoky Granite Mica, Golden Almond Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Breakwater Blue Metallic, Brandy Wine Mica, Desert Sage Metallic and Matador Red Mica.
The base MSRP for the RX 400h with front-wheel-drive will remain unchanged at $41,180. The price of the all-wheel-drive RX 400h also remains unchanged from 2007 at $42,580.
The SC 430 luxury hardtop convertible carries over unchanged for the 2008 model year. The base MSRP for the 2008 SC 430 also remains unchanged at $65,455.
The 2008 GX 470 also receives additional styling upgrades including a new dark metallic finish on the front grille, chrome roof rack side rails, liquid graphite on the standard 17-inch alloy wheels, a clear rear combination lamp turn signal lens cover, and two new colors -- Salsa Red Pearl and Desert Sage metallic. Inside, the GX 470 receives a new Brown Walnut wood trim and a chrome finish on the front door speaker grilles. Additional changes were also made on the optional Sport Package where the carpeting, third-seat latch and cargo hook will now be black.
The 2008 GX 470 will carry a base MSRP of $46,815, an increase of $180, or 0.4 percent. Additionally, the price of the popular Third Row Seat with Rear Air Conditioner option significantly reduced by $1,545 and will now be offered at $485.
The 2008 IS 250 and 350 features a new finish to its standard 17-inch wheels for a sportier appearance. Additional upgrades include backlighting on the outside power mirror control, white illuminated scuff plates and an additional coin holder.
The base MSRP for the IS 250 with a manual transmission will be $30,455, an increase of $200, or 0.7 percent. The IS 250 with an automatic transmission will carry a base MSRP of $31,625, up $200, or 0.6 percent. The IS 250 with all-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission will carry a base MSRP of $34,085, a price reduction of $200, or 0.6 percent. The IS 350 will be base priced at $35,905, an increase of $200, or 0.6 percent.
For 2008 the Lexus ES 350 receives restyled outside rear-view mirrors for a sleeker look. Inside, the ES adds two rear personal lamps for added passenger convenience.
The ES 350 will carry a base MSRP of $33,720, an increase of $250, or 0.7 percent.
Launched in the fall of 2006, the all-new LS 460 and LS 460 L have received overwhelming accolades and enjoyed spectacular consumer acceptance. For the 2008 model year, the LS will carry over unchanged with the exception of one new exterior color, Opaline Pearl. The long wheelbase LS 460 L offers a new Air Suspension package that includes 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with 245/45R19 all-season tires, Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Adaptive Variable Air Suspension.
The 2008 LS 460 will have a base MSRP of $61,500, an increase of $500, or 0.8 percent. The base MSRP for the LS 460 L will be $71,500, an increase of $500, or 0.7 percent.

Honda and Lexus to introduce new hybrids

honda hybrid
Hybrid vehicles are hot these days. Factors like constantly rising fuel prices, a growing concern about the environment and fear of tighter emission norms around the globe have spurred the production and sales of hybrids. Powered by this interest, great strides have been made in the field of batteries and associated technologies. All this made the hybrids more user friendly and evolved greater consumer interest in these vehicles. Major brands are now seriously considering the launch of dedicated hybrids.

Brands now offer hybrid versions of some of their very popular gasoline models. The market interest, however, is ‘going back in time’. Honda and Lexus are considering the production of new vehicles that will be ‘just hybrids’. The first hybrids were dedicated design and offered only as hybrids, not mere hybrid versions of popular gasoline models.

Reports say Lexus is at work on a vehicle that will be marketed only as a hybrid. Lexus currently produces a wide range of hybrids including the RX 400h and its costliest car, the LS600hL. A point in case; Lexus hybrids are not mere fuel misers, the focus is more on performance and refinement.

With its new hybrid speculated to be launched in the D-segment, Lexus wants to address some problems that have dogged hybrids since long. The focus will be more on trunk space, interior space and quality rather than on styling and looks. This new dedicated hybrid is expected to enter the market by 2010.

Notwithstanding its recent hitches with the Insight and Accord hybrid, Honda is all set to work on its dedicated hybrid. Honda’s hybrid will most likely target the entry-level segment. This hybrid will come as a family-car. Nearly 200,000 units of this car will come to the market each year. This vehicle is scheduled for a 2009 launch.

Going back to the dedicated hybrids is a good idea. Honda and Toyota pioneered the hybrid market years ago, but can they pull another revolution now?


Toyota Camry hybrid sheds $1000 off its price tag

2008 toyota camry hybrid image
The 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid will cost less by nearly a grand. The Camry hybrid will now be priced at $25,860, still $5,400 more than the gasoline only variant. The gasoline only Camry is the most popular car in the USA.

How does the Camry hybrid afford this price cut? Simply by doing away with some of previously standard equipment. The aluminium wheels have given way to steel units. The JBL stereo and leather trim on the steering wheel and shifter are now a thing of the past.

Camry hybrid comes with a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine that gives 187 horsepower when combined with the electric motor. Estimates say the Camry hybrid gives a fuel economy of 40mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway.

The move may be welcome, as people will not have to pay for the stuff they don’t require. At the same time, many may resent the list of ‘not so impressive’ standard equipment.

Arguably, the Camry hybrid faces tough competition from other hybrids on the road. Some give excellent fuel economy; others give a better performance and more power. The lower price tag might just save the day for this car.

[Via: Autobloggreen]

Porsche Cayenne hybrid: the fuel friendly Cayenne

porsche cayenne
SUVs are mostly referred to as gas-guzzlers; the Porsche Cayenne is no exception. Porsche AG, however aims to change things a bit with the introduction of the Cayenne hybrid, likely to be rolled out by the end of 2009.

Cayenne hybrid will cut the fuel consumption of the Cayenne by nearly a third. Porsche wants the hybrid to cover 100km in 8.9 litres of fuel, as compared to the 12.9 litres of the all-gas Cayenne. With such a high fuel usage, the Cayenne exhales 320 to 378 grams of carbon dioxide per km. There is no word on the CO2 output of the hybrid.

These high figures of carbon emission can land the Cayenne into trouble in the near future. Emission standards are tightening worldwide. The European Commission plans for new rules by mid-2008, that aim to reduce pollution from passenger cars to 130grams of CO2 per km by 2012. Upcoming CAFE standards in the USA are already causing car manufacturers to lose sleep.

Porsche is working with Volkswagen and Audi for development of hybrid powertrains that capture energy from braking and use it to drive an electric motor. The parallel-full hybrid lets the electric motor drive the vehicle at speeds upto 120kmph (now that’s something), with the gas engine first taking over at high speeds.

The age of gas-guzzlers is over. As the world gets more conscious of environment and people feel the pinch of high gas prices on their wallets, demand for cleaner and fuel economical vehicles is on the rise. Hybrids lead the way in this changing world.

[Image: Autobloggreen]

[Source: Reuters]