The idea of producing large, luxury-vehicle hybrids is turning into a "what were they thinking?" exercise in futility, USA Today reports. General Motors is discontinuing hybrid versions of the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs, while Mercedes-Benz and Toyota's Lexus division are doing the same with their S-Class hybrid and LS hybrid sedans, respectively. The culprit? Big price increases for fuel economy improvements that border on the unimpressive.
Forecasting the future of the automotive market ain't no easy task. The complex forces at work, including widely ranging government incentives and automaker's often-rosy outlooks, make predicting the future for emerging technologies all the more difficult. Will hybrids be a boon to the automotive industry? Will electric vehicles bomb? Predictions regarding the automotive industry's future are simply guesses based on some facts, complex tracking of trends, significant speculation and, sometimes,
Imagine a police chase in Manhattan where a Ford Fusion Hybrid pulls up behind the criminal followed by a few Priuses, an Escape Hybrid and a couple of Altima hybrids. Now, think of the scenario where the criminal, driving his gas-guzzling Hummer, takes off out of the city limits on a long-distance chase. A hundred miles later, the criminal creeps to the side of the road running on nothing but fumes while the NYPD hybrid crew has consumed less than three gallons per vehicle. While this scenario
General Motors is finally starting to regularly break out the sales figures for its hybrid vehicles and while the numbers are improving, they still look very weak compared to the competition. August was the company's best month yet for hybrids with a whopping 1,629 units delivered of the six available models. Buyers took home a combined 797 examples of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon plus a single Escalade hybrid.