“A decade after the first Prius went on sale, Toyota’s global sales of hybrid vehicles have hit a landmark 1 million, underlining the Japanese automaker’s lead in “green” technology that has changed the face of the auto industry”. The 48 mpg Toyota Prius is leading hybrid vehicle sales with 181,221 sold in the U.S. last year. Toyota places a strong emphasis on hybrids and will soon offer hybrid vehicles in every category. Toyota also sells the 40 mpg Camry hybrid and Highlander SUV hybrid. So what’s causing the market for hybrids? Rising gas prices in the market is definitely a key component. Another is the “going green” trend. Toyota helps the green trend because its emission ratings are Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission. This means low levels of hydrocarbons and oxides are contributing to pollution which makes global warming worse.
With rising competition, “Toyota will continue to push the hybrid to the forefront”. The competition Honda civic hybrid selling only 36,000 in the U.S. last year, claims it will “reach an ambitious annual sales target of 400,000 hybrids worldwide in the next five years”. The Honda civic and insight are the only hybrid cars Honda has currently which means it will need to introduce more hybrid cars to reach its sales target. “Honda CEO Fukui says affordability is key. Lower operating costs should pay for a hybrid’s higher sticker price in two years”.
Competition from the Nissan Altima hybrid and Saturn Vue SUV are on the rise with General Motors betting it can out sell Toyota. “Over the past few weeks, executives have been streaming into the lab to look at the contraption, which may represent GM's best chance to leapfrog competitors like Toyota and reassert its long-lost lead in the auto industry. It might even mark the start of a new automotive era, one that's not reliant on gasoline”. The idea is the Chevy Volt would be the first electric car that you can go 40 miles without recharging. GM has also promised four new hybrids this year, the two-mode gas-electric systems in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon large sport utility vehicles, and hybrid systems for the Saturn Aura and new Chevrolet Malibu sedans” . Even with the electric advancement GM plans to have on the market in two years and the new hybrids this year, “rivals will have a hard time catching up to Toyota in hybrids — and that the technology will play a key role in defining Toyota in the years ahead”.
The rising competition in hybrid vehicles can be classified as a threat. The competition is growing. Almost every automobile company is investing in this market trend, coming out with new hybrids and this means Toyota will need to work harder to produce more hybrid vehicles that are better and more efficient than the competition. With over ten years of experience in the hybrid market, Toyota is still leading the market and it proposes to have a hybrid vehicle in every category. Growing sales and market growth will continue to keep Toyota hybrid vehicles’ in the lead.
SWOT Analysis: Hybrids
· Dominating hybrid market
· Growing sales
· Increased growth means increased publicity for the competition
· Hybrid in every category
· Market growth
· Intense competition
The video below shows how the Toyota Prius is built and how it works.
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 “Toyota Worldwide Hybrid Sales Top 1 Million.” MSNBC. 7 Jun. 2007.