Thursday, September 15, 2005

Why Toyota Is Kicking Ass

In a study conducted by R.L. Polk & Co., Toyota's hybrid Prius accounted for 64% of all U.S. hybrid sales in 2004, with Honda coming in second with 31%. This year, Toyota is poised to return similar numbers, and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing any time soon. The question is, why? Why is Toyota so far ahead of Honda, a company that has been in the hybrid business for just as long?

In this blogger's opinion, it has to do with corporate philosophy. Namely, Toyota's philosophy that hybrid technology isn't just a passing fad, or an intermediate stage, but a viable technology that will carry weight for 50 years or more. This can be seen in a)their announced plans of having 10 models with hybrid options by 2008, and b)their $6.9 billion (with a 'b') R&D budget for this year, the highest of any Japanese auto maker.

The way the other auto companies around the world are treating it, hybrid technology is the middle step on the way to fuel cells. While it may very well be that, it will be on a much longer timeline than the 20 year target that some people are touting. Honestly, I can't imagine driving a production fuel cell car before I'm 50, so what's to say that hybrids aren't valuable?

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posted by S.C. @ 10:23 AM |


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