2010 Honda Insight – Click above for high-res image gallery

If a certain type of car struggles to gain a foothold in the market, what can be done? Let's use the hybrid as an example. Say you want hybrids to become a sales success, but it's just not happening. What are your options? You could ditch them because buyers don't want hybrids. Or you could offer up huge incentives to drive up sales for a brief time while losing money. Or the government could step in with mandates, credits and all types of different actions to almost force people to buy them.

Over in Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued new goals for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) domestic sales and the numbers are quite ridiculous. The METI wants these advanced vehicles to account for 50 percent of all new car sales by 2020 and that's no joke. Many industry experts don't believe that even 20 percent is obtainable by that time, so why set such an outrageous goal? Because METI is certain that its policies can help get the job done. How, you might ask? The group will spend whatever it takes, and plans to dish out some dough – starting with a $135.3 million payout for charging stations countrywide this year alone – in additional incentive programs, more on charging networks, and by coercing domestic makers to pursue advanced vehicles and promote the technology nationwide.

Guess which automaker is thrilled to hear this news about spending? Yep, you got it, Toyota. It will take METI to the bank on this one. The world's largest hybrid producer will reap a lot of rewards from the drive towards getting half of the market to be hybrids and EVs. For now, we're gonna call METI out on this one and say that 50 percent just ain't gonna happen by 2020.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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