Print 24 comment(s) - last by ChristopherO.. on Sep 8 at 9:46 PM

Lexus RX 450h

Lexus HS 250h

Toyota Prius
An important green milestone comes for the company

Whether you love Toyota's hybrids or don't care for them, its hard to fault Toyota's strategy from a business standpoint.  Demand is at a record high and the manufacturer is making profit on-level with traditional sedan designs, thanks to various cost cuts.  And with August sales in the books, the automaker has announced that it has reached a significant milestone: selling its two-millionth hybrid vehicle.

Toyota was the first to create a mass-production hybrid, when it launched the Prius in 1997.  Since then it has seen strong demand for that vehicle as it has evolved over three generations.  Meanwhile, Toyota has fleshed out its hybrid offerings with Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Lexus GS 450h, Lexus RX 450h, and LS 600h hybrids.  More hybrids from Toyota and Lexus are also in the works.

Later this year Toyota will launch the Lexus HS 250h, a new luxury hybrid vehicle.  The vehicle will join 13 hybrid vehicles currently in the company's lineup (though many of these are Japan-only models).  Toyota continues to advance on its plan to by 2020 launch a hybrid version of every vehicle in its lineup, as well as continuing to offer hybrid-only offerings like the Prius.

On May 31, 2007 Toyota topped one million hybrids sold.  Toyota estimates that since 1997 its hybrids have reduced CO2 emissions by 11 million tons (based on a comparison of fuel economy of sedans of similar size and class).

In the next decade, Toyota hopes to be selling 1 million hybrid vehicles a year.

Toyota does face growing competition in the market.  Rival Japanese automaker Nissan will be launching an pure electric vehicle, the Leaf EV in 2011.  Both Nissan and Honda are also expanding their hybrid lineups, with Honda's Insight posting modest sales, despite lukewarm reviews.  German automakers are also pushing ahead with clean diesel and hybrid offerings and the U.S. automakers all have growing hybrid lineups, as well plans for electric vehicles.

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RE: How many from Ford?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/8/2009 7:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
If you knew anything about business you would know that Toyota would never have made hybrids unless they thought they would take off sooner or later. The American car makers just did what they needed to get a short term bottom line. Forget the future.

RE: How many from Ford?
By ChristopherO on 9/8/2009 3:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for a pointless and rude response to my question that wasn't insulting to anyone.

Yes, I know about business and yes I realized Toyota made the vehicles because they expected to make a profit. I'm just not sure if Toyota expected them to be as entirely successful as they've been. However they were ready enough to push-them-down the model line and get them out to consumers.

I also don't think it's fair to say the American companies did what was right for the short term... They could have been caught entirely unaware. Car development is inherently long-term (multiple years per new model), so nothing is short-term. It could be fair to say the American companies just have chronic bad judgment, but I wouldn't automatically say they are short-term thinkers.

RE: How many from Ford?
By ChristopherO on 9/8/2009 3:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
I know I'm replying to myself -- but case in point: Ford canceled the Taurus. It was just the most popular car they ever sold... This wasn't a short-term thing, just that the CEO was a twit and it eventually cost him his job. The new CEO promptly came in and brought the Taurus back.

Another thing, I just think the American companies have no idea what consumers want... Ever. They wait for someone else to build something, realize there is demand, and then take years to design their own copy. I wouldn't call this short-term, they just have no clue how to read consumer desire.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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