Hybrids

Product Mix for the Domestic and Asian Mainstream Automotive Makes

From 2006 through 2009, large vehicles as a percentage of total new vehicle registrations declined 10 percentage points to 20%, though this proportion has stayed constant in the last two years. Going forward, most automotive forecasts predict that large vehicles will retreat even further as gas prices rise and OEMs launch smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles (including hybrids and electric vehicles) to meet the upcoming CAFÉ standards.Looking at the nine non-luxury mainstream makes, all of...
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The Road is a Vehicle Charger

One could hardly argue that oil has provided America, and the world, an increased quality of life for roughly a century. In the same breath, that statement can be turned around in admittance that obtaining and controlling this finite resource has caused an issue or two between the covetous nations. Administrations and environmental activists alike have accusatorily pointed toward major consumers of the substance as profiteers, when attempting to make a point for political or social reasons....Rea...
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"Heels & Wheels" Puts Women in the Driver’s Seat

My business associate, Marc Bland, has provided insightful blogs on the female automotive market over the last several months. During the holiday break, I came across coverage of this topic that peaked my interest. I was intrigued by the first annual two day "2011 Heels & Wheels" event in beautiful Palm Springs, CA. It is a gathering of female automotive bloggers, engineers, journalists and other automotive professionals who get together to discuss subject matter and issues as they relate to...Re...
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Consumer Choices For Fuel Efficiency

Dependence on foreign oil, increasing fuel costs and concerns for the environment have forced OEMs to develop solutions to improve the efficiency of new vehicles and their response could be seen at the North American International Auto Show which was held in Detroit from January 9 - January 22, 2012. For those consumers wishing to stick with gasoline engines, Mazda's Skyactiv technology is something worth considering. Skyactiv is the combination of an efficient high compression gasoline engine,...
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Luxury Makes at the NAIAS: Focus on the Small Car

The Luxury Compact Car Segment – with 27% of all luxury registrations during the first 11 months of 2011 - is the largest luxury segment. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of the luxury marques focused on small cars in their presentations to the media at the recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.BMW unveiled the redesigned 2012 3-Series which offers understated, evolutionary styling changes; later in the year, a hybrid 3-Series will be available. Cadillac...Read...
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Spotlight on the Dominant Auto Segments

It seems like there are a million different types of cars and trucks on the road these days. I'm not a mathematician, but if you were to calculate all of the different combinations of vehicles available based on such vehicle characteristics as size, body type, price and powertrain, there are probably a million possibilities. Yet, even with such a wide choice of vehicles from which the consumer can choose, four types of vehicles dominate the marketplace. Midsize cars, compact cars, compact...Read...
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BMW Launches New 3-Series to Hold on to Leadership Position

The BMW 3-Series continues to be the heart and soul of BMW. This small BMW encapsulates in one vehicle the driving characteristics, styling and image that define the BMW brand. The 3-Series registration results illustrate its success. In the past 12 months (September 2010 – August 2011), BMW dealers have delivered 96,292 3-Series, 41% of all BMWs. This total is 66% more than the Infinity G, the runner-up in the small car segment of the luxury market.Determined to maintain the leadership...
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Family Sedan Market Heats Up

If you are in the market for a family vehicle or will be in the near future, and you don't necessarily need the functionality of a crossover or minivan, you may want to take a look at the family sedans now available or coming to your local dealer. During the next six months, there will be a lot of product activity in this category, and those family sedans not being redesigned remain crucial to their respective makes.Three redesigned midsize family cars are either being launched now or will be...
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One Reason for Toyota's "Green" Image

If one accepts the theory that customer perceptions of automobile makes are influenced at least in part by what customers see on the road, then it is easy to understand why Toyota is perceived as an environmentally friendly, "green" car brand. As shown on the nearby table, Toyota has dominated the U.S. hybrid market for so many years that the number of hybrid Toyotas on the road far out-distances those of any other make.  Consider the following:
  • Toyotas account for two-thirds of all hybrids...
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OEMs Struggle to Move Hybrid Vehicles

New vehicle registration data for the first seven months of 2011 suggest a gap between actual retail demand for hybrid vehicles and the need to increase hybridization of the U.S. fleet to reduce emissions, reliance on foreign oil and global warming. Models produced with both internal combustion engines and gas/electric powertrains are inherently more difficult to sell than hybrid-only products, as the former lack the distinct styling of the latter and therefore do not "stand out" or make a...Read...
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The Five Most Successful Automotive Models for the First Half of 2011

It seems like an appropriate time, with six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations available, to look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well. "Doing well" would involve more than mere year-over-year improvement; it also includes helping the make move forward. Here are my lists of the five most successful models so far in 2011 for each of the non-premium and premium spaces.Note: These results would most likely be different if the Japanese earthquake/tsunamis of...
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New Vehicle Models - Key to Year-over-Year Registration Increases

The five makes with the largest year-over-year increases in new vehicle registrations through the first six months of 2011 have all recently introduced new or redesigned vehicles.Mitsubishi leads the industry in year-over-year gains*, thanks in large part to the success of the all-new Outlander Sport, a more compact version of the Outlander. Both of these models play in the thriving small crossover space. Mitsubishi has also benefited from more routine registration figures for the Eclipse and...R...
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Would You Buy a Hybrid Vehicle to Reserve Your Parking Space?

On a recent vacation, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one hotel has specifically designated parking places for hybrid only vehicles. Have you seen these parking spots? Here is an example of a brand reaching beyond the vertical and entering into their customers’ everyday driving experience.The idea of premium parking locations as a premium perk to customers that align with certain characteristics is not new. Retailers have been capitalizing on this concept for years. For example, pull...
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New Execution on Hybrid Technology

Fellow blogger, Tom Libby, just wrote about the resurgence of Buick. I want to add to his thoughts and talk about their eAssist Technology, which is creating more positive press for Buick and will likely translate to continued sales increases. eAssist is a gas/electric powertrain that, according to Buick.com, will be introduced on the LaCrosse and Regal later this year as 2012 models.eAssist is another example of OEMs making hybrids more appealing to the average driver who doesn't want their...R...
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Hybrids are on a Growth Track – Again

When the automotive industry took a plunge in 2008/2009, the hybrid market followed suit and took a plunge with it. Looking at calendar year-to-date registrations (January to March) we see that both the overall market and the hybrid market fell by about 37% from 2008 to 2009 in the first quarter. Hybrids had been steadily increasing as new models of hybrids became available and gas prices were rising up until the crash of late 2008.As gas prices fell and people tightened their pocketbooks,...Read...
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What's your Favorite Green Car?

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I thought about what my favorite green car might be. I thought about the new Chevy Volt, the Prius, the hybrid Fusion and of course the new Leaf. But of all the hybrid and electric vehicles I could think of, none of them topped my favorite green car. The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS tops my list. With an optional (and rare) L72 engine pumping out 425 HP, how can you not get excited about this car? And how can you forget the convertible? On this nice almost-spring day...
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Remembering a few of the first Econoboxes: Omni and Horizon

I hate to admit this, but I'm old enough to have been driving during the oil embargo in the mid-seventies. Among other effects (the price of gas went up to more than 50 cents a gallon!), this shock caused car buyers to seriously consider choosing to buy a small Japanese import instead of one of the comfy domestic cars that we were all used to. The oil embargo ended, but it was a long time before we were all comfortable that gas would be available when we needed it (at any price). Into this...Read...
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Prii and Wii

If you haven't heard, the plural of the Toyota Prius is now Prii. Thus, based off one popular model, Toyota just added a few more hybrids to its line-up.   So the new Prii monicker got me thinking about another popular double-'i' term: Nintendo's Wii. Nintendo's latest video-game system has some interesting comparisons to this hybrid car. Here's a comparison between the two products. Warning to reader: this is not based on rigorous consumer research. Okay, so what else am I missing when you...Rea...
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Electric Vehicle 101 -- Brought to You by Ford

We can't seem to get away from the ever-increasing media coverage on electric vehicle technology. Along with the media coverage comes an entirely new language -- quick, what’s the difference between BEV, PHEV and just good old EV? Ford Motor Company has released a three-minute educational video describing the differences between hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. This is a very high-level look at the various technologies so if you are an accomplished scientist this may be...
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Nearly Half of Ford Models Show Share Gain

Ford's recent success has been driven by the Ford Division, as Lincoln has struggled with a lack of new products and Mercury has been discontinued. The Ford brand's share of the U.S. new light vehicle market has climbed 2.5 points from calendar year 2008 to calendar year 2010, an impressive amount. To put this in perspective, Ford's gain in share over this two year period is greater than the entire 2010 share of Subaru, Mazda, or Volkswagen.And, Ford's share gain is not a fluke, i.e., it...
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