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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: Update after 3 years
By rtrski on 9/8/2009 10:29:04 AM , Rating: 2
Ditto - I've more than saved the oft-quoted "$4-5k markup" for the hybrid in gas prices at this point (4 years into my 2001 model, using a 30mpg 'average' as my comparison), my maintenance has been nothing more then oil changes, air filters, and fluids, I'm only into a 2nd set of tires as the ones it came with lasted about 58k miles, and my batteries are good for another 50k miles by warranty. (And there are reports of Prii battery packs lasting 250k miles already, so there's no need to believe I'll be clubbed by the failbat at 150k miles exactly.)

Even excluding the $3k tax credit I got on purchase, it has been an economical purchase for me. Sure, I'd be in about the same overall financial situation if I'd bought a Jetta TDI or whatnot (maybe - maintenance might have cost a bit more by the 100k mile point, and while average mileage might work out to be near the 48 MPG lifetime I've got now diesel was spiking a bit higher than gas over some of the last 4 years). The hybrid wasn't a huge "win" in economy terms vs. other technologies in similar size and trim level vehicles, but neither was it a loser.

Plus the cognitive dissonance of working in a right-wing-type defense engineering job while driving what is usually considered a tree-hugging ecofreak vehicle is always good for a laugh. I've heard them all at this point...

RE: Update after 3 years
By Spuke on 9/8/2009 2:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
Plus the cognitive dissonance of working in a right-wing-type defense engineering job while driving what is usually considered a tree-hugging ecofreak vehicle is always good for a laugh.
I work for the gov too and know plenty of people with hybrids (Prius' too) with conservative views. Not everyone needs to make a political/social statement with their cars. Most people just need something to get from point A to B.

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