The popularity of the Toyota Prius has made "hybrid" a widely recognized word and has prompted the launch of numerous competitive vehicles from various automakers. Additionally, derivatives of the conventional hybrid – i.e., micro and mild hybrids – are popping up everywhere. However, most automakers seem reluctant to tag these vehicles with a "hybrid" badge.
Recently, General Motors announced its eAssist technology, which will be featured first in Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal. Essentially, eAssist is what we'd call a mild hybrid, yet GM shies away from using the H-word. Likewise, the 2012 Focus, equipped with Ford's six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission, relies heavily upon electricity instead of the vehicle's engine when idling or slowing to boost fuel efficiency.
It's not just Ford and GM, it's the vast majority of the automotive industry. With names like Efficient Dynamics, ecoFlex and Blue Efficiency, use of the H-word seems to be so last year. Do you think these newfangled terms could confuse potential buyers?