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Hybrid vehicle sales jumped high in the first two months of 2013 – up 32 percent compared with the same period of 2012, according to Autodata Corp. A long-term forecast by Gartner Inc. is even more optimistic – while the market share for US new vehicle sales has grown to four percent for hybrids, that figure could double by the end of this decade.

Why is that? Increasing gasoline prices, more evidence of reliability and a wider selection of hybrid vehicle offerings have sweetened the deal. The diversity of offerings helps – from the cheaper, entry-level Toyota Prius C to the competitive Ford Fusion Hybrid and the expensive, 949-horsepower LaFerrari. Subaru has finally entered the hybrid market with its XV Crosstrek Hybrid crossover. Nissan made a splash at the New York Auto Show with its 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid after being out of that segment for several years.

The Toyota Prius hybrid has been the flagship of hybrids since its US introduction in 2000. It did see some softening of sales in March, but it had gained the top spot in California new vehicle sales for 2012. The Prius is gaining a reputation for being reliable and owners are hanging on to them – Toyota says that 90 percent of the Prius vehicles it's sold as still on the road.

Of course, the higher sticker prices for hybrids compared to their fuel-efficient, non-hybrid competitors continues to impede hybrid sales. The Toyota Camry hybrid, for example, costs about $3,500 more than the gasoline-only Camry. At current gas prices, it could take almost five years to break even on the initial cost.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      The key to hitting that number is hybrid trucks. Ford and Toyota are jointly developing a hybrid truck system. When that system hits the F series and it's offspring, 8% will be a breeze.
        axiomatik
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        GM already has hybrid trucks, but no one is buying. Probably in large part because they are obscenely expensive (it *starts* at $41k). It's a shame, because they would save a lot of gas.
          throwback
          • 1 Year Ago
          @axiomatik
          Price is the issue. Ford and Toyota spreading the development costs should result in a cheaper system. Their current hybrids are not much pricier than the standard offerings when you adjust for equipment levels.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @axiomatik
          @Ford I would be curious about GM's issue. The volt is expensive, but the drive train is revolutionary, multiple motors, clutches, etc. Their mild hybrids, however, do not compare to Toyota or Ford, so it would be interesting to see the issue on the pricing. I know Ford has said they do not want hybrids to be loss leaders, so one would assume they are making a profit. So what's up, GM?
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @axiomatik
          GM's conventional hybrid technology is crap. You pay a substantial premium in price and get little in MPG improvements. They are doing it wrong. Someone else will come along and do it right.
          Ford Future
          • 1 Year Ago
          @axiomatik
          GM used an MBA to price their hybrid, and priced it to Take All the Savings.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @axiomatik
          We need plugin hybrid trucks (VIA Motors)!
      Luc K
      • 1 Year Ago
      "to the competitive Ford Fusion Hybrid" And the AutoBlog review says: "there's little reason to wind up with one of these in your driveway" Is there some contradiction or was it really april fools joke article? Little sense in that it only got similar FE as Camry hybrid yet base model has $1K higher MSRP (and let's ignore better handling and drive and more configurable options).
      BarryH
      • 1 Year Ago
      In my neighborhood it's easily 1 in 10 cars is a prius. All driven by old folks.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I suspect it will be much more than 8% by 2020. High oil prices will light a fire under people's butts. BTW, the Teslas are everywhere around where I live. I saw 3 Models S and 1 Roadster on the way to CostCo today.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Not even sure if it would take high gas prices. The models are getting more mainstream, and with the Prius C so competitively priced, why not? Reliability has been proven , so there is very little downside. Also, I have not known a person that owned one that didnt love it. My Escape was a hoot, and I sing its praises to everyone I know. Also, the new cafe standards....I would think the auto makers would have to offer more models, either that, or....(wait for it......wait for it......) maybe lightweight and aero! :D
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          Cheating is easier for the Highway portion... http://green.autoblog.com/2013/03/14/carmakers-taking-advantage-of-eu-fuel-economy-test-by-taping-up/
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          In the last few years automakers have worked to improve the highway mileage of their vehicles, but city mileage is still lacking. Hybrids, phev, and electrics improve city mileage considerably are the best way to make real improvements to combined mileage.
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