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Hybrids - News, Reviews and Views in the Press

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
    If it HAD been some freak hybrid explosion and felt a mile away, I would have thought there would be not much left of the vehicle. Even with it turning out not to be the car that exploded, you can see the need to dramatize everything. An explosion "felt a mile away" would seem to have done more damage than the photos I've seen.

    Back on news items...

    Ford Motor (F) says it will have plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in showrooms in 2012, promising 30 miles on battery power before the gasoline engine kicks in.
    Ford plans to underscore that promise with an announcement here today that it has contracted for lithium-ion battery cells with Johnson Controls-Saft, a U.S.-French joint venture that manufactures the batteries in France.


    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-02-02-ford-plug-in-hybrid_N.htm

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  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I posted this over on the Toyota 2009 thread...

    In brief discussions with Toyota personell at the Prius preview to the DC Auto show they noted that PHEVs will be part of the mix in the future but at the moment there just isn't that much money to be made from them.

    IOW they don't see much urgency to rush any PHEV vehicle to market because the vast vast vast majority of the US population is not ready technologically nor from a usage pov. The technology must progress and the public must get a taste for what these vehicles can do but how many will actually be sold? Not many. 'Not many' means not much money to be made.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    They don't say if this is a diesel hybrid, and turns out it's not, but it SHOULD BE DARNIT !!!

    VW Touareg Hybrid
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    The TSI is a gas engine. Too bad so sad. They are supposed to be delivering the Touareg V6 TDI to dealers this Spring. Uses Urea so is off my list. Watching for a used ML320 CDI to get my diesel SUV. The others are all Urea and trouble in the making.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    Hybrid car sales go from 60 to 0 at breakneck speed

    By Ken Bensinger
    March 17, 2009
    The Ford and Honda hybrids due out this month are among dozens planned for the coming years as automakers try to meet new fuel-efficiency standards and please politicians overseeing the industry's multibillion-dollar bailout.

    Unfortunately for the automakers, hybrids are a tough sell these days.

    In July, U.S. Toyota dealers didn't have enough Prius models in stock to last two days, and many were charging thousands of dollars above sticker price for the few they had.

    Today there are about 80 days' worth on hand, and dealers are working much harder -- even with the help of $500 factory rebates -- to move the egg-shaped gas-savers off lots from Santa Monica to Miami.

    This month, Honda is offering $2,000 in cash, financing and leasing incentives to buyers of the formerly sold-out Civic hybrid, while a dealer in northern Michigan is dangling $6,000 cash back to those willing to buy a hulking Chevy Tahoe hybrid.

    The hybrid flood marks a lasting commitment to a powertrain technology that currently represents only about 2% of U.S. vehicle sales and, by most accounts, is deeply unprofitable.

    Toyota said last year that it was finally making money on the Prius after nearly a decade producing it, but executives at other automakers acknowledge that they lose money on every hybrid sold. "If we were making money on the Civic hybrid, we weren't making a lot," Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.


    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hybrid17-2009mar17,0,6682265.story
  • Of course the car makers were losing money on hybrids at first. They had to re-coup the cost of researching the new engines. Honda and Toyota are making money off their hybrid cars now, and Ford is about to with the release of their two new hybrids.

    As for hybrid sales dropping off, run a comparison of how bad sales are overall, then compare them to the dropoff in hybrid sales. Hybrids are actually increasing their market share even as sales drop because the rest of the market is so bad.

    As for talking about the GM hybrids and equating them to Toyota or Honda's.... Chrysler had to stop making the two-mode SUV hybrid because of bad sales. We'll have to see if GM ends up doing the same.

    If GM built a fuel efficient hybrid car, they'd probably see the sales figures Toyota is seeing.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    As for hybrid sales dropping off, run a comparison of how bad sales are overall, then compare them to the dropoff in hybrid sales. Hybrids are actually increasing their market share even as sales drop because the rest of the market is so bad.

    Not according to the LA Times article I just posted. The hybrids are sitting 80 days on the lots. It is not good for the high priced battery to sit for long periods of time. They will deteriorate if not kept charged. I doubt Toyota is sending charging units to the overflow lots with thousands of cars to charge those batteries. It will not be a problem for the buyers other than premature failure of the battery and the hassle of waiting for a replacement.

    A complete discharge of a cell until it goes into polarity reversal can cause permanent damage to the cell

    NiMH cells historically had a somewhat higher self-discharge rate (equivalent to internal leakage)

    The rate is strongly affected by the temperature at which the batteries are stored with cooler storage temperatures leading to slower discharge rate and longer battery life. The highest capacity cells on the market (> 8000mAh) are reported to have the highest self-discharge rates.
    wiki
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    While the hybrids are being affected by the downturn like every other vehicle on the market they are being affected somewhat less. Not much but somewhat less. 80 days is not optimal but it's better than 90 or 120 or even 360 days like some other models.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary, you will beat hybrids to a death bed.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    Although the market for hybrids may be slightly better than for nonhybrids, there is no doubt that since last summer the hybrids are massively more affected by the recent downturn. If Hybrids went from 2 days to 80 days on the lots and nonhybrids went form 80-100 to 90-120, which was more affected?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes those numbers are true but last summer was an aberation. More typically Toyota and Honda stores have inventory levels that are at 30 days of sales in normal times. Our typical rate as an average of all vehicles, fast movers and slow movers, is about 25 days of sales on hand.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Cool, Nissan !!

    Nissan’s Infiniti brand has pledged to exclusively offer hybrid vehicles within the next ten years, and the first step in that plan could hit our shores next year. Reports out of Japan suggest Nissan will launch a new luxury-hybrid model next year.

    According to Japan’s Nikkei, Nissan will launch a hybrid version of its next-generation Infiniti M in the United States in 2010. A Nissan-badged version of the car – called the Fuga – will also launch in Japan next year.

    Although Nissan offers a hybrid version of its Altima sedan here in the States, Nissan actually borrows its hybrid technology from cross-country rival Toyota. However, the hybrid system set to launch next year will be completely developed by Nissan.

    The M’s hybrid system is expected to spread to other Infiniti models within the next few years, and could culminate in a production version of the Essence show car.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    From the President of Honda

    Fukui also said Honda has decided not to proceed with its plans to put clean diesel engines in its large cars. He cites the cost of clearing tough emissions regulations in the United States and Japan as the reason. The more cost-effective solution will be a modified or possibly new hybrid drive system which will instead become the future green drivetrain for big vehicles.

    Hybrids Yes, Diesels No
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,876
    A reporter is looking to speak to consumers who have used or adapted solar power in their vehicles. In addition, if you use solar power in your home, the reporter is also interested in speaking to you. Please send your daytime phone number to ctalati@edmunds.com by Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

    Thanks,
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    Corporate Communications
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  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    While I hope Toyota is making profit on the Prius after all these years, your source didn't exactly convince me. It's a website promoting electric cars. The consensus of auto analysts remains that Toyota has lost money for years on the Prius. Whether that is still true today, of course, no one outside of Toyota knows.

    Honda is a different story. Their hybrid system is much simpler and, presumably, less costly to manufacture.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    No, the source was a story in the Nikkei newspaper from Japan.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The math and accounting indicate otherwise... It's a very good discussion.

    Yes Honda's IMA is much less expensive ... but the vehicle also sells for $2000 to $6000 less. Two years ago Toyota announced publicly that it was making money on the hybrids. Then it lowered the price of the Prius by $600 to $1200.

    This leaked data is not surprising. The sheer weight of volume of units sold guarantees that it/they have been profitable.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    Where is the actual story? This little snippet means absolutely nothing. Is it all hybrids sold? For a specific year? For hybrids sold In Japan only where prices are fixed? Is this corporate profit only not including dealer profit?

    Until I see the text, I don't believe it. If Toyota is getting 3500 dollar profit for a Prius Package 2 at 21500 as they are being sold today with incentives, I would be very surprised.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    IMO the figures are being leaked since the year end results are just coming out soon. From the article it appears that the figure is an aggragate number for all of the hybrids.

    It makes a lot of sense since most of the numbers have been known for some time now.

    The selling price to the customer has little to do with the revenue to the vehicle maker. Until recently there were no rebates at all on the Prius. There was a $600 to $2000 discount introduced on the sticker back in June of 07 which is when I believe that the vehicles 'went positive'. Those sticker discounts have recently been increased in order to blow out the last of the 09s and a $1000 rebate has been added.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 428
    In Apr-2009, some 21,000 hybrid vehicles were sold.
    Toyota - 12K +
    Honda - 5K +
    Ford - 2K +
    GM - 1K +

    I guess Hybrids are picking up. All expectations are on Prius-III.
    More important is automaker should reduce the Hybrid Premium.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    More important is automaker should reduce the Hybrid Premium.

    Both Toyota and Honda are in the process of doing just that. The new Insight II is the same technology as the HCH but the Insight II is about $2000 less than the HCH.

    Toyota added sticker discounts to the 2009 Prius of ~$500 to $1000.
    Then it added a $1000 rebate.
    Then it published the 2010 prices and these are ~$300-$500 lower yet in MSRP.
    IOW the new 2010 full MSRP on a standard model will be about $2000 lower than the similar vehicle sold last summer. Hybrid premium goodbye.
  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    Maryann Keller, an longtime analyst on the business of automobiles (just Google her name), thinks otherwise. In comments on Thursday (Detroit News) about Chrysler's chances to survive, she says:

    "But Chrysler's future seems to rest on the politics of small, fuel-efficient cars and protection of union labor. Washington doesn't seem to understand that no auto company, not Toyota, not Honda, not Hyundai or Kia or Ford, earns a profit on their small cars."

    Toyota has publicly justified it's willingness to sell its patented hybrid technology to others on the need to recoup the huge capital costs involved. Maybe they have by now. I don't know. But we know that Detroit has long acknowledged their inability to make money on small cars. And other auto commentators remain convinced that the Prius has yet to make money. The issue is at least in doubt.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    There was a $600 to $2000 discount introduced on the sticker back in June of 07 which is when I believe that the vehicles 'went positive

    There were hybrid enthusiast on this forum that claimed Toyota was making a profit on the first Prius sold here. I have to agree with those that claim it is an unknown. We do know someone is losing billions on the cars sitting in huge lots. How many 1000s are Prius? How many of those expensive batteries will be ruined just sitting for months on end without being kept charged up?

    I know my friend that has been screwed by Toyota finance on his Prius will never buy another Toyota. I suggested a Jetta TDI when he gets settled into his pastorate in Maui. I probably own the last Toyota I will ever buy. They are suffering from the same arrogance that has brought GM to its knees.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Jetta TDI would seem to be a poor choice for Hawaii....not enough long roads to get the full benefit of the 50+ MPG you can get at highway speeds, are there?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    The point of a Jetta TDI on Maui is the very good supply of Biodiesel. Remember WIllie and his compound they buy only biodiesel for their all diesel stable. Willies wife drives a Jetta TDI as does Woody Harrelson. Wille gets the E320 CDI. All running on 100% biodiesel from waste cooking oil, that is refined to meet all current standards. You would like his operation. All off the grid for power, using only solar. Growing much of their own food.

    The big Island does not have the supply of biodiesel available on Maui at this time. Making it less desirable. Not many places on any of the islands for going in excess of 55 MPH.

    In all fairness the Prius was a good option for Hawaii. Too bad Toyota has such a worthless financial arm. Toyota will not allow lease transfers to other states. Sadly they owe too much to get a loan. And are not in any financial position to buy the Prius. It is on a 5 year lease similar to the SubPrime lending mess. Toyota needs to be investigated by the lending regulators.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160

    There were hybrid enthusiast on this forum that claimed Toyota was making a profit on the first Prius sold here. I have to agree with those that claim it is an unknown. We do know someone is losing billions on the cars sitting in huge lots. How many 1000s are Prius? How many of those expensive batteries will be ruined just sitting for months on end without being kept charged up?

    I know my friend that has been screwed by Toyota finance on his Prius will never buy another Toyota. I suggested a Jetta TDI when he gets settled into his pastorate in Maui. I probably own the last Toyota I will ever buy. They are suffering from the same arrogance that has brought GM to its knees.


    I made that claim in a number of different places including here because it has to do with the specific rules of accounting. That was my major in college many years ago but the basic rules haven't changed much at all. It has to do with accruals.

    That's why I said several posts back that it's an interesting discussion and the numbers show that the vehicle was profitable from the beginning, maybe not the first year but certainly from the beginning of this Generation onward.

    What Maryann Keller doesn't understand apparently is the concept of 'breakeven' or how the rules of cost accounting are applied to a manufactured product.

    I know that you have had a burr in your saddle since forever against Toyota. I haven't. Such is life our experiences balance out each other.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I was in a similar situation, and I found someone to make the payments for me on Craigslist.

    There are also websites which facilitate people picking up other people's car leases which they cannot keep, for whatever reason.

    It worked out great for me.
  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    Here's a recent Business Week post on the meager "profits" of hybrid vehicles. The word profits is in quotes because it may be auto execs, rather than Maryann Keller, who are skipping over the need to amortize capital costs when figuring profits.

    The Honda Insight, the Toyota Prius and profits

    Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 28

    "Ask a Toyota or Honda executive how much their respective companies make per hybrid car and you’re unlikely to get a straight answer. Indeed, it was progress of sorts a couple of years back when Toyota began saying that the Prius, which debuted in Japan over a decade ago, had begun contributing to the bottom line. Honda, meanwhile, prefers to point out that with the Insight it achieved its aim of reducing the cost of its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system to below $2,000.

    All of which makes some of the claims in an article in Monday’s Nihon Keizai newspaper interesting. Without citing sources, the paper reports that the gross profit on the new Honda Insight is 300,000 yen (a little over $3,000) per vehicle—or a gross profit margin of 15%. If that sounds high, in accounting terms, gross profit equals the difference between revenue and the cost of making a product and, therefore, ignores lots of other costs. Still, the 15% figure puts the Insight on a par with a Fit compact in terms of profitability per vehicle. Of course, that’s much less profit per car than it gets from selling an Accord or an Acura but, with Honda aiming for 200,000 Insight sales a year, it at least helps shore up finances in these difficult times. (Honda today announced a net profit of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year just ended, but notched up a $1.9 billion loss in the January-to-March quarter).

    Also of note is that the new Prius may be less profitable than its smaller rival. The Nikkei adds that the gross profit margin on the latest Prius, which goes on sale in Japan in May for as little as $21,000, is likely to be in single digits this year."
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That's the article to which I was referring.

    Honda's system is very elegant in that it's a low cost effective system that does a great job for small light vehicles. It has a smaller battery and a low-powered e-motor. It's a very good engineering design. It is limited until further notice to vehicles about the size of the Civic.

    The Toyota system is larger, more powerful and more effective for a wider range of vehicles. It also costs more with a larger battery pack and two more powerful e-motors. But the revenue is significantly higher for an HSD vehicle than for an IMA vehicle.

    The key question is 'What about the amortization of the development costs?' This depends solely on ... VOLUME.

    The direct variable costs are well covered in the selling prices. These are well known from comparable vehicles.

    Regarding Gross Margins, here is the latest info as reported by Forbes from 12/08.
    TM Margins and Ratios
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