Archives – February 20, 2014

Hybrid Sales in Japan Surpass US Sales

In June 2009, 22,292 Toyota Prius cars were sold in Japan compared to 12,998 cars in the United States. The sale of Toyota Prius combined with the sales of 8,782 Honda from the novel Honda Insight were adequate to make the country one of the biggest markets for the world’s gas-electric hybrid vehicles. In June of the same year, the total sales of hybrid cars in the United States amounted to 26,205 units.

According to an alternative transportation analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton, Reid Heffner, the Japanese market has the right combination of factors to increase the sale of hybrid cars. These factors include government incentives, new products and gas prices. The excitement concerning new products for hybrids is expected to subside with time. It is however, essential to acknowledge the fact that the government of Japan has developed the right policy measures such as exemption of taxes for hybrids and increased levy for gasoline powered cars. This is contrary to the United States where hybrid tax has not been exempted. Therefore, there if a durable financial advantage for hybrid cars in Japan compared to non-hybrid cars.

An analyst of an auto consulting company CSM, Yoshiaki Kawano said that purchases are boosted by tax incentives. Customers who order a Toyota Prius car in Japan have to wait for almost 7 months for the car to be delivered. Toyota was therefore forced to find a means of meeting the high demand. One of the ways they did so was moving employees from different factory areas to its facility in Tsutsumi, Aichi. This is the facility that builds the Toyota Prius. In addition to this, the company has implemented overtime in its work shifts so as to produce at least 50,000 Toyota Prius cars per month.

According to data released by R.L. Polk and Co., which is involved in tracking novel car registrations, Japan sold only one hybrid car for every 4.3 hybrids sold in the United States in the year 2006. The ratio was cut into fifty percent in the first two months of the year 2006. In June the same year, earlier reports indicated that Japan sales were more than the United States sales.

The United States governmental policy on fuel-efficient cars’ incentives has shifted to plug-in cars for the next generation. The incentives became available in late 2010. There is likely to be more competition in the global race for greener cars considering bigger incentives and larger investments in other Asian countries such as China and South Korea.


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Honda’s Plan to Introduce ‘62’mpg Odyssey Hybrid

Honda has made an announcement concerning its intention to introduce a hybrid model of Odyssey. The new version has the possibility of cutting the rate of fuel consumption by fifty percent, that is, from 31 to about 62 mpg. The Japanese automaker said the same thing to Australian journalists. The actual figures used by the automaker and journalists were 3.8 liters per kilometer for a hybrid car in comparison to 7.6 liters per kilometer for non-hybrid car.

The mentioned figures compute to 31 miles per gallon for the normal Odyssey compared to 62 miles per gallon for the hybrid version. It is hoped that the new hybrid will be extremely fuel-efficient and would benefit long distance drivers. The 2014 Odyssey in the United States has been rated to cover about 22 miles per gallon. The new hybrid would therefore be huge even if a Hybrid Odyssey measured into the high 30s or even the low 40s.

Currently, the hybridization process is not yet under development. Only the proposals have been forwarded for the Japanese market. Unlike Estima and Toyota hybrids that were launched in Michigan last summer, Odyssey is both a Japanese and United States model. Therefore, people who are in dire need of a big and efficient hybrid model should hope for the success of the proposed model. The news of the Odyssey hybrid came following a mention of a fifth generation Odyssey by journalists.

Japan has a Toyota Tarago, whose hybrid version is available. The country also has a car known as Toyota Alphard. Both vehicles have hybrid versions. The hybrid versions were introduced following the high demand and increasing need for fuel-efficient and greener cars. Some of the issues that need to be addressed when introducing new hybrid car versions include finding an appropriate place for storing the hybrid battery. The place should not hurt weight distribution and should also not impede space.

The Honda powertrain leader of the project, Takashi Shinchi said that it is essential to consider all the options of where the battery could be placed. He also emphasized the need to consider weight distribution. In this case, it would be considered whether the battery would be best positioned in the rear or forward area. All factors will be kept in mind when picking the most suitable position to place the battery.

According to Chris Martin, Honda spokesman, Honda is looking at the potential for hybridizing larger vehicles. Some of the larger hybrids in the United States include Toyota’s Highlander and Nissan’s Pathfinder. Larger hybrids for Honda are not available yet.


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