Orchestrating the launch of the natural gas-powered 2012 Honda Civic GX to coincide with California's decision to no longer allow hybrid vehicles to drive in the state's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes could have given Honda a sales edge, according to Automotive News (sub. req.).
Late last week, as California announced that it had voided the often-controversial privilege enjoyed by owners of hybrid vehicles, panic struck, sending some of the 85,000 yellow sticker holders in search of vehicles that are permitted (plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, fuel cell and compressed natural gas) to carry California's still-valid white stickers.
Any vehicle adorned with the state's white sticker can drive in HOV lanes, and with the unveiling of the CNG-fueled 2012 Civic GX, buyers seeking a qualified vehicle in California were geeked. However, the Civic GX launch isn't slated to begin until this fall, meaning that none are currently available to the 85,000 individuals that just lost their yellow stickers. This looks to be a missed opportunity, with AN claiming that:
Dave Conant, owner of Norm Reeves Honda in Cerritos, CA, backs AN's claim, saying that:Yellow-sticker holders are desperate to maintain their car pool lane privileges, and are calling Honda dealers in a frenzy to see if they have any natural gas Civics in stock.
This situation gives credence to the age-old phrase, "timing is everything."Every single person who bought a hybrid to get into the car pool lane is trying to get a natural gas Civic, and none exists right now. There is a real premium on the used versions. We found one or two last week.