A recent JD Power finding that hybrid popularity is giving way to more interest in diesel powertrains may have some legs to it after all. Even though gas prices have been hovering above $3 for months, Toyota is still trimming the entry price of its 2008 Camry Hybrid by about $1,000. To help pay for the unexpected price drop, Toyota eliminated standard items like the JBL audio system, leather steering wheel and shift knob, Homelink, and electrochromic mirror with compass. $25,860 will now get you a hybrid powertrain plus steel wheels, and a single CD player, which aren't exactly luxury components. Unless the folks from Aichi, Japan have achieved manufacturing efficiencies from increased hybrid output, this could be bad news for Toyota and the many automakers on the precipice of introducing their own hybrid systems.
[Source: Auto News (subscription req'd)]