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Toyota has suffered some blows to its image over the last few years with a series of recalls and that whole unintended acceleration thing, and the company has taken matching hits to its bottom line. But nothing was as damaging to the company – in every sense – than the earthquake that struck on March 11. After the quake, Toyota found itself losing massive amounts of cash and sinking in worldwide rankings as damaged factories were unable produce the company's most popular vehicles. American manufacturers GM, Ford, and Chrysler picked up market share on their home turf. Korean makes Hyundai and Kia also made gains in the U.S. The end result? Toyota's sales dropped 7.8 percent.

To win back both market share and profitability, Toyota is putting even more emphasis on hybrid technology. As readers know, Toyota will soon have three versions of the hybrid hatch on the market with the Prius, the roomy Prius V, and the Chevy Volt-challenging Prius plug-in hybrid. Additionally, Toyota's President of U.S. sales, Jim Lentz, has announced that "Prius is going to be the backbone of our powertrain philosophy going forward. The vast majority of vehicle sales we're going to have are going to be hybrids." This might be part of a global increase in hybrid sales. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's executive vice president overseeing R&D, recently said that he thinks that hybrids will make up 20 percent of all global vehicle sales in 2020.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why does the Prius have to be so darn ugly? Make a car out of it already.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Foolishness. Battery hybrids are only a viable alternative because US nuclear energy is locked in the 1970's. More modern designs would yield alot of excess capacity that can be turned into hydrogen production. If America were to grow its nuclear power generation hydrogen as fuel would not be far behind. Hydrogen would render battery hybrids useless. An internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen is the best of both worlds. A V8 rumble with water vapor as my only emission...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Your V8 rumble might be louder than you imagine - recall the Hindenburg.
      OldSalt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hybrid can only make sense with gas around $4/gallon or higher. This price point can only make sense with OPEC calling the shots. Should America fully exploit its growing reserves of oil and gas, then prices will start falling and hybrids become unattractive along with electrics. What is perverse is we have a private economy ready to start increasing our production of oil from US territory and a Government determined to force people to live with expensive oil provided by OPEC, just so their pet green industries can grow. I call this lunacy.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @OldSalt
        There are many benefits to a hybrid besides saving money. As every Republican president for the last 40 years has intoned, America needs to end its addition to foreign oil; doesn't pollute at a standstill; quieter; more reliable; etc. Once Toyota sells mostly hybrids, it should start attack advertising against other cars that are hopelessly primitive. "GROWING reserves of oil and gas"?! -- ahha ha haha
          • 3 Years Ago
          @skierpage
          "America needs to end its addition to foreign oil" Do you think batteries are made from materials produced in America? China controls the worlds supply of rare earths metals and Bolivia has most of the lithium. Trading oil for batteries puts us into a position of being dependent on two countires instead of having many different suppliers. That does not make sense to me, especially considering Evo Morales' outright hostility toward the US. ""GROWING reserves of oil and gas"?! -- ahha ha haha" Green River Formation - 750 billion barrels totally untapped Bakken Formation - 3-4.3 billion new discoveries and increasing technology grow this estimate. ANWR - untapped That is just off the top of my head. Considering that even the exploration is not allowed, save the Eastern gulf there is bound to be more out there. So yes we can be energy independent if only we were allowed to be.
      Robyn
      • 3 Years Ago
      Want to start making some extra incomé every month? You can... For more information, visit following website http://www.LazyCash39.com .....Your extra incomé is just a click away... Don't miss it
      DadioBob
      • 3 Years Ago
      I sure wish they would just jump right to the "plug-in" version on the new Prius V. Would be best of both worlds for us full time Dads scooting around town with the kids :~)
      Julius
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice to see, but alot will depend on the relative price of gasoline and the economy. If the economy is still in the tank and gas is (relatively) cheap, then the hybrid's added up-front costs might not go over well vs. an ordinary economical 4-cylinder sedan.
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Julius
        And Americans are really bad at math and think that gas prices will never go up. I bet that less than 20% of the population could calculate a payback period.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          But Paul, you do not need the whole population to do the math - all you need is the salesman for Kia, Honda, Ford, etc to do the matnh and demonstrate that it will take 5-7 years to payback the cost of the Hybrid.
          throwback
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          I bet most car buyers buy what they want, for whatever reason they want. IF someone is only interested in saving money, AND they keep their car long enough, it make sense. As less than 2% of the market is hybrids, it seems most car buyers prefer not to buy a hybrid.
          SNP
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          my understanding is that you have to drive a lot to get a payback before the batteries need replacing. Taxi drivers averaging 50k miles/yr can see a pay cause they'll replace their car in 3yrs, but if I'm compelled to pollute to get a payback, how green is it really? (I'm hoping for CNG cars)
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