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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Honda Insight

A pair of Japanese buyers check out the new 2010 Prius hybrid vehicle, the first hybrid to outsell all other vehicles in Japan.  (Source: BBC News)
Hybrids come in at number 1 and number 4 on Japan's sales charts

Consumers will tend to hold off their purchases if there is a new and significantly improved model coming soon. This is particularly true for electronics and automobiles. Word of the third generation Prius has been known as far back as 2006, and while the economic downturn played a significant role in cutting sales of the older Prius, the waiting game may have had a larger impact than previously thought.

Toyota had already decided to increase production of the Prius to 600,000 units per year in late May after seeing huge sales in Japan. The company has had to begin weekend production of the Prius in order to make a dent in demand. Increases in fuel economy and horsepower had led many to delay their purchases of the Prius until the 2010 model was available. However, many potential customers also switched to Honda's Insight hybrid, which topped the Japanese sales charts in April.

In the two months since, hybrids have continued their sales dominance, with the 2010 Toyota Prius and Honda Insight both posting strong sales.  The Toyota Prius seized the top spot in May, with sales of 10,915 cars.

This month, though, it set an even more impressive mark, becoming the first hybrid in Japan's history to outsell all other vehicles.  The Honda Insight's previous sales record had excluded popular mini-vehicles with engines of up to 660cc.  Those mini-vehicles were easily outsold by the Prius, thanks to sales of 22,292 units.

Honda continued to do well, with its Insight Hybrid coming in fourth place.  Honda's Fit, a fuel efficient traditional offering came in second place, with 13,016 vehicles sold.  The sales of Toyota and Honda's hybrids were helped by relatively high worldwide gas prices, which drove Japanese consumers to take fuel economy more seriously.  Japanese tax breaks have also helped convince users to switch to hybrids.

Hybrid vehicles have yet to crack the top of U.S. sales charts, but some believe it’s only a matter of time before a foreign hybrid like the Toyota Prius, or a domestic like the Ford Fusion pushes towards the top. 

All of this bodes well for those hoping of a restart of Toyota's $1.3 billion Prius assembly plant currently under construction in Blue Springs, Mississippi. Toyota has already spent over $300 million on the plant. The building shell itself is finished, but the tooling and production machinery will be installed at a later date. Parts suppliers have also halted building expansion and tooling operations until Toyota commits to a restart date.

The case for a restart is particularly strong since New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) appears destined for a shutdown. The joint venture between Toyota and General Motors will cease to produce the Pontiac Vibe, which is based on Toyota's Matrix. It also produces the popular Toyota Corolla and Toyota's Tacoma truck, production which could shift to Blue Springs. Production of the Toyota Yaris hybrid is also a possibility.

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RE: How surprising....
By bhieb on 7/6/2009 4:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
There are definitely a few that buy them to show off, but you cannot knock the utility of the F150. For MSRP of $28K you get a butt load of interior room for 5, plus the benefits of a bed. Sure the mileage is not great but 21hwy 15cty is not awful for a truck.

Now if you have Zero need for a truck ever, then chances are it would be hard to justify. However if you use one say 6 times a year, and want a spacious 4 door vehicle then they are by no means a bad choice. In fact I'd argue that they are much better than SUV's of any class, with regard to people and stuff hauling.

Ford has done a great job on that truck the non 4 door is just over 20K, and it is a hard justification to buy a similar priced car with all of the added functionality. Plus that price point is the "sweet" spot for what people want to spend anyway, so even a blind man can see it has a clear utilitarian advantage over any sedan. As far as "bang for the buck" it is a clear winner.

RE: How surprising....
By captainBOB on 7/6/2009 4:44:33 PM , Rating: 4
Hey, I didn't say that they were bad cars, on the contrary as you say they are a bang for the buck with what you can get. The problem here is the fact that in America the top selling car is a truck, which shows how seriously people are taking the whole gas issue, crying a river about gas prices whilst driving a Hummer.

The F150 has good mileage for a truck, but in stop and go traffic like it sometimes gets over here (especially I-45 late afternoon) its still much heavier than a car so your mileage will vary greatly. Its not just solely for commuting.

RE: How surprising....
By bhieb on 7/6/2009 5:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
The problem here is the fact that in America the top selling car is a truck, which shows how seriously people are taking the whole gas issue

Or it could illustrate how the masses may not be so dumb aferall. They have spoken, and what they have chosen as the vehicle to have is the F150.

My point was not really against what you said, just that it should not be a surprise that it is the best seller since it logically makes more sense than a larger car. One could almost argue that it fiscally makes more sense as well. Depending on the mileage you drive and cost of gas, the MPG savings may get eaten up if you need to rent a truck more than a handful of times each year.

Guess I'm just disagreeing with the whole stigma that the yuppie driving the F150 is just showing off his ego, it does not pan out. Even said yuppie probably takes 4 buddies golfing a half dozen times a year. Try squeezing 4 of the large golf bags in a sedan. Granted he may not have thought of that when he bought it, but clearly it is not a bad choice either. Now the douche in his Bentley is a completely different story.

There is an undeserved stigma attached to trucks not actively hauling a ton of bricks daily. Just because 90% of them are not in use daily does not make them evil (not saying you implied this but others do). One does not need to use them all the time to enjoy the utility and spaciousness of one.

I drive a CTS-V now (I know talk about the Bentley douche), and do miss my F150 dearly sometimes. Fortunately I have access to several others in my immediate family nearby. What can I say I love the speed :)

RE: How surprising....
By Fireshade on 7/7/2009 12:53:16 PM , Rating: 3
Even said yuppie probably takes 4 buddies golfing a half dozen times a year. Try squeezing 4 of the large golf bags in a sedan.

Sorry, but I don't think you know real yuppies ;)
Real yuppies would all drive their own car, so there's no squeezing 4 golf bags in any car :P
Driving their own car has great benefits in their time-scarce world (no waiting on the other).

RE: How surprising....
By Keeir on 7/6/2009 6:22:15 PM , Rating: 3
The F150 has good mileage for a truck, but in stop and go traffic like it sometimes gets over here (especially I-45 late afternoon) its still much heavier than a car so your mileage will vary greatly. Its not just solely for commuting.

No one really disagrees with that point, but however, its sorta of a cost issue. Moving from a F-150 to a "normal" V6 type sedan is only going to save a driver between 100-150 gallons of gas in a year. IE, not even 2 dollars a day at current gas prices. Even stepping down to a compact car will only save around 3 dollars a day.

People complaign about gas prices because the average american drives around 15,000 miles a year. In a "normal" 25 mpg car (nice milage) thats 600 gallons or so a year. When gas prices raise 1 dollar a gallon, even that "smart" consumer gets hit with an extra 600 dollar a year charge

RE: How surprising....
By mdogs444 on 7/6/2009 7:14:18 PM , Rating: 1
which shows how seriously people are taking the whole gas issue, crying a river about gas prices whilst driving a Hummer.

I don't see anyone who drives a Hummer complaining about gas prices - rather I see them complaining about people who can't afford a Hummer targeting them as the reason for gas prices.
The problem here is the fact that in America the top selling car is a truck

I don't see why that's a problem. That's part of the benefit of being a developed and wealthy country. If you can afford to purchase and drive a truck, I don't see any reason not to, nor do I see any reason why you think yo have the ability to tell them not to.

We all know that oil is not scarce, is not priced high because of actual demand, and to those of us who don't believe the Global Warming fear mongering, we don't see a reason to lower our usage of it. There are plenty of ways to make oil cheaper if that's what the real target was - including drilling out own. But lets be real here - politicians on the left do not want gasoline to be cheaper, but rather they want it more expensive in order to proceed with their social engineering dreams.

RE: How surprising....
By andrinoaa on 7/7/2009 6:01:18 AM , Rating: 3
If you can't see the problem, you are the problem.!! When are you yanks going to get real? For F#$%'s sake, an F150 is a good car? Most people who buy them for their usfulness? Give us a break. They are what they are - TRUCKS, not cars! NO OTHER people in the world NEED an F150, but hell americans all need them, lol.
Come on man. The running costs and purchasing cost I beleive. But what happens when oil goes up again? Another economic catastraphy waiting to happen? Stop pointing to the size of your penis.

RE: How surprising....
By mdogs444 on 7/7/2009 6:34:03 AM , Rating: 1
Most people who buy them for their usfulness?

Who gives a s*** what they buy them for. Its their money, their choice. Get over it.
NO OTHER people in the world NEED an F150, but hell americans all need them, lol.

No. Rather no other people in the world can afford to drive an F-150 because their country is not as developed or wealthy, or their government taxes them to all hell so their gas prices make it unfeasible to buy what they want. Social engineering at its finest.
But what happens when oil goes up again? Another economic catastraphy waiting to happen?

When oil goes up? Get real. You don't think anyone buying SUV's and trucks right now do so knowing they may pay much more in the future? And in case you haven't noticed, the economic catastrophe was not caused by trucks or suv's, it was a complete byproduct. The price of oil is not related at all to how much oil there actually is available in the world - we're not running out anytime soon, and it will still be going beyond when we're dead and gone. Anyone trying to justify against that fact is clearly fear mongering for their "clean" objectives which really aren't so clean. Instead of worrying about the prices of gasoline going up $1, perhaps you should be worrying about peoples electric and heating bills doubling and tripling each month due to your "clean" endeavors - now THAT will cause a domestic economic catastrophe.

RE: How surprising....
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 7/7/2009 7:42:47 AM , Rating: 6
I would have to agree with you there. These guys are all log rolling cause they all bought trucks during the profilgate times and are stuck with them. So they pat each other on the back and stroke each other's egos. Sort of dysfunctional lot here.

I see many trucks with one guy in it and the bed looking like it was never used driving in to Washington DC every morning. I guess they feel they need one since they might get some mulch for the garden patch twice a year and wouldn't want to mess up the carpet in the trunk of a sedan.

These guys are very short sighted. Regardless of the price of oil versus cost, the money goes to people who hate America (not the continent, Canadians, calm down), and I can't see bank rolling them with my gas dollars. So the fewer I send overseas, the better. I get nearly 40mpg in my car, and I am looking for one that does even better.

As to the mere $600 per year penalty, imagine that people in the US drive 2.6 trillion miles per year... oh wait, we do! And now imagine that each of those cars averages 19mpg, that's $342B we're spending each year on gas at $2.50 per gallon, and a large part of that is going to Venezuela and the Middle East. If gas goes up a dollar, that figure goes to $478B. But, at $2.50 per gallon, if we all got 25mpg, that figure goes down to $260B we send overseas. At 35mpg, it goes down to $185B. And as we all know, as demand goes down, prices follow.

So the very people who shout USA with their God-given right to drive trucks are the very people who undermine this country by sending US currency overseas to countries that hate the USA. And if you start quoting actual US dollars spent on foreign oil, remember it is a global market, and we are pushing up gas prices all over the world with our demand. Imagine if every car in the world got 35mpg. Oh wait, nearly all of them do except US cars - really it is much higher.

Well Bushy and his buddies got their money. <snap> No he didn't!

RE: How surprising....
By captainBOB on 7/7/2009 8:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
You hit a nail. More of our money is being leeched over to the Middle East who can bring our entire country to a halt just by embargoing oil shipments.

I'm not pinning the blame on trucks, every car contributes to this. This is America and you're entitled to do what you want (within legal limits of course) but it doesn't mean you should do whatever you want because you feel like it at the expense of the country.

Personally I believe global warming to be a steaming pile of bs. What I do believe that we are going to run out of oil, its a question of when, and for all the "we must break the foreign oil addiction" there is not much initiative from the people, many auto manufacturers and even the government to start doing so. Alternatives are there. Hydrogen based cars are almost ready for mainstream (BMW and Honda have models waiting for the green light) but they are not on the road yet, and they probably won't be until the last minute.

RE: How surprising....
By sxr7171 on 7/7/2009 9:21:19 AM , Rating: 2
Yes this is how it needs to be done.

Nuclear electricity -> electrolysis -> hydrogen. Done deal.

Look at France right now. If they went hydrogen, there would be no need for middle east oil.

We on the other still use fossil fuels for electricity. So we're screwed. I guess we could keep sourcing coal from China, everything we own came from there anyway.

RE: How surprising....
By mdogs444 on 7/7/2009 9:33:41 AM , Rating: 3
I guess we could keep sourcing coal from China

I suggest you read this article:

We have enough coal here to last centuries, but the supply isn't the reason we're importing. Its nothing more than legislation & regulation from Washington. If they (politicians) truly wanted the U.S. to be a self sustaining, energy independent nation right now, we could - coal, nuclear, shale oil, OCS & ANWR drilling, hydro - and we could do it all very cost effective and most likely lower the monthly energy costs for all Americans.

Its nothing besides social engineering and political posturing for the feel good environmentalist movement - pure emotion. None of what we're doing right (banning drilling, no nuclear nuclear expansion, punishing coal, pushing solar & wind as the saviors) now is logical or fiscally responsible, its just one of those things that make you go "hmmm".

RE: How surprising....
By bhieb on 7/7/2009 10:15:05 AM , Rating: 2
Ding we have a winner.

Most of these tree hugging morons don't realize the reason we import is a simple logic and Cost Benefit. It is always best to use other's resources when possible over your own (especially when you might not like said nations that much). Why in the world would we want to tap our natural reserves first? $2.65 for fuel is actually dirt cheap so why bother. Hell until it reaches $6 or so by today's prices I still would not recommend tapping ours. IMO $10 a gallon and we will jump all over tapping our own, until then why bother.

In northern TX I can tell you Natural Gas from shale WAS booming, until recently when low and behold prices dropped again. See folks the other side of the world saw our panic artificially kept prices up, as soon as we start tapping our own they mysteriously come back down. Demand has not dropped much since the $4 per gallon days. It was only that high so they could milk us for a bit, and that is fine it is their prerogative, however if it gets too high we can and will replace em.

RE: How surprising....
By Nfarce on 7/8/09, Rating: -1
RE: How surprising....
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/9/2009 6:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely BRILLIANT post.

There are so so many people ranting all the time about how they've got the right to do what suits them best and blah blah... But they forget that, in certain matters, what is good for each individual, is detrimental to the whole country or even the society at large.

It is as simple as you've pointed it out: a society consumes way too much of a certain good, so much of it that the local production falls short for covering the internal demand, that certain good has to be bought abroad, generating debt and a dependency on its foreign production.

In the long run, that's not desirable in any economy, and what a healthy economy could try to do is:
a- produce more of the said good locally to stop the foreign dependency (sometimes this is not possible, like it is with fuel)
b- tax that good to flatten its demand
c- massive R&D to find substitutes that can be locally produced / reduce the need
d- a combination among some or all of the above.

People forget that a country's government has to look after a whole society and a whole economy, and sometimes what's best for the country, can be not so desirable by some single individuals just because they feel they're not being properly spoiled or sponsored in their rights to behave like immature brats.

RE: How surprising....
By Spuke on 7/7/2009 11:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
When are you yanks going to get real? For F#$%'s sake, an F150 is a good car?
When are you a$$holes going to stay out of our business? Seriously, if we're doing that much to harm to the planet come on over and stop us from doing it? If it REALLY is that important or that critical, why aren't your respective countries banding together to force us to change? I see all of this head wagging and finger pointing and this "woe is us" if we don't change our ways. None of it is working!!!

We continue to put the Ford F-series on the top of our list for vehicles when it's time to buy a car. I own a 2006 Ford F250 diesel myself and my wife uses it as a daily driver. We bought it because we wanted it!! Internet a$$holes don't factor into our purchase decisions. Like I said, if it's that important to the future of the planet that we change our habits, then come on over and force us to change. Until that happens, we WILL continue going our own way.

RE: How surprising....
By Keeir on 7/7/2009 1:05:37 PM , Rating: 3
If you can't see the problem, you are the problem.!! When are you yanks going to get real? For F#$%'s sake, an F150 is a good car? Most people who buy them for their usfulness?

Great, yet another Holier than Thou European who probably has never once lived in the United States for an extended period of time.

Get over it folks. American cars are designed for the American lifestyle and the American Cost of Fuel.

If Europe had similar roads and similar fuel costs, they would choose the -same- cars. Period. End of Story.

But no, Europe has tiny little streets from before the Auto Age. Europe has sin taxes on gasoline which double to triple the price of gasoline from its actual price. So of course, many Europeans choose the smaller more efficient cars.

Right now, the "normal" price of gasoline without taxes is less than 2.50 per gallon. The cost difference movings from a Compact (Honda Civic) thats gets 30 mpg to a Full-Sized (US Honda Accord) that gets 25 mpg is all of $250 dollars a year. Less than a single dollar a day. The price to go all the way to that 20 mpg F-150? Only $625 dollars a year, less than 2 dollars a day .

Here's a great example. I like to go Biking on the Weekend. If I had a F-150, I could carry 4+ Bikes at the drop of the hat. Try doing that with any type of car. If would only take 5-6 trips a year to justify the extra expense of the fuel all year long.

Yes, I know, European gas prices are more than 5 dollars a gallon. Your governments tax and re-tax heavy/large cars out of existence. But you know, the reason they have to tax and re-tax and penalize the large cars in Europe? If they didn't Europeans would drive the Large Cars, just like Americans.

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