Hybrid Sales in Japan Surpass US Sales

February 20, 2014

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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