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Hybrids - News, Reviews and Views in the Press

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  • 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: 28,850
    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: 28,850
    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
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I am sure that Toyota has some life left in them. I think Toyota is in for a fall. They are suffering from some of the "Too big to fail" thinking that GM has had. Though Toyota is better run than GM has been for 30 years.

    I think I like my Ford (F) purchase at $1.76 per share. I look for the Ford Fusion Hybrid to be a winner if they can get the parts away from the suppliers controlled by Toyota.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Why would it be when you have so many good choices that get better mileage?

    Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

    So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

    The biggest problem, and it’s taken me a while to work this out, because all the other problems are so vast and so cancerous, is the gearbox. For reasons known only to itself, Honda has fitted the Insight with something called constantly variable transmission (CVT).

    It doesn’t work. Put your foot down in a normal car and the revs climb in tandem with the speed. In a CVT car, the revs spool up quickly and then the speed rises to match them. It feels like the clutch is slipping. It feels horrid.

    And the sound is worse. The Honda’s petrol engine is a much-shaved, built-for-economy, low-friction 1.3 that, at full chat, makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer.

    So you’re sitting there with the engine screaming its head off, and your ears bleeding, and you’re doing only 23mph because that’s about the top speed, and you’re thinking things can’t get any worse, and then they do because you run over a small piece of grit.

    Because the Honda has two motors, one that runs on petrol and one that runs on batteries, it is more expensive to make than a car that has one. But since the whole point of this car is that it could be sold for less than Toyota’s Smugmobile, the engineers have plainly peeled the suspension components to the bone. The result is a ride that beggars belief.

    There’s more. Normally, Hondas feel as though they have been screwed together by eye surgeons. This one, however, feels as if it’s been made from steel so thin, you could read through it. And the seats, finished in pleblon, are designed specifically, it seems, to ruin your skeleton. This is hairy-shirted eco-ism at its very worst.


    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article6294116.ece

    My feelings toward the whole genre. :P
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You and he should get a room. You are peas in a pod. He, as do you, had an irrational anti-hybrid bias before ever driving this car, as indicated in the final line of the story:

    Good only for parting the smug from their money

    Want further proof? :

    But saving polar bears, of course, is not the point of a hybrid car. The point is not to save the planet but to be seen trying. I saw a Prius in California the other day with the registration plate “Hug Life” and that’s what the car does. It says to other road users, “Hey. I’ve spent a lot of money on this flimsy p.o.s. and I’m chewing a lot of fuel too. But I’m making a green statement.” Think of it, then, as a big metal beard, a pair of open-toed sandals with wheels, David Cameron with windscreen wipers.

    So his complaints hold no water because he is obviously anti-hybrid.

    OH - I forgot.......

    Good job on actually finding a negative hybrid review. Those are few and far between.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Good job on actually finding a negative hybrid review. Those are few and far between.

    When I heard it on the news early this morning I had to find it. You were the first person I thought of. If the Insight is noisier and rougher riding than the Prius, I don't know who would buy one. Pathetic cars. What lengths will HonToy go to, to avoid building a good solid high MPG, great handling car?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    So his complaints hold no water because he is obviously anti-hybrid.

    He was also anti-diesel until he spent a couple days driving the VW Golf TDI. That is the difference. The more you drive a hybrid the more you hate them. Diesel vehicles are just the opposite.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You got it HALF right, Amigo.

    This part is right, Maybe:

    Diesel vehicles are just the opposite.

    But this part is TOTALLY INCORRECT:

    "The more you drive a hybrid the more you hate them."

    That's why hybrids get 90%+ owner satisfaction ratings, right? Because the owners start hating them?

    Puh-Leeze - don't attempt to insult our intelligence by saying something so blatantly false.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    That's why hybrids get 90%+ owner satisfaction ratings, right?

    Not exactly. The 2009 Prius has an 8.8 satisfaction rating down from over 9.5 on previous years of Prius. This is typical of unhappy Prius owners experience. It only took about 5 miles in town for me to know I would never take one on a trip. Some people take longer to realize they made a mistake.

    We bought the car for its great fuel economy and nothing else. The car isn't cute, the ride is not what we were used to but we knew that. We test drove the Prius many times before buying it. But during our first long distance trip (400 miles) we experienced handling problems. The car wanted to move from side to side, I was constantly adjusting the wheel. There were also cross winds during part of the trip, which made things worst. Spoke to my local Toyota Service department and corporate Customer Service, they indicated the car was "Working as designed". My wife refuses to use the Pruis for long distance highway driving.

    Prius not for the tall folks:
    Might want to look elsewhere if over 6ft tall as I am. Ergonomics have become annoying - rear view mirror mostly in road-level line of sight and legs cramped by non-height adjustable seat. Marginal power up steep hills, and need to give lots of gas to accelerate onto freeway onramps. Otherwise, cruises flats well, very smooth ride, fairly quiet interior. You may wish the gas motor was off all the time since the electric drive is captivating. Car is well built, high quality inside and out, save the lack of seat / steering wheel adjustments. JBL audio system pretty good, not amazing though. At 6ft 3in, I would not buy this car again.

    Or those with a back they care about:
    I must say that overall I'm quite happy with my Prius-look, performance, gas mileage-but what the heck was Toyota thinking with those seats?! I eagerly took my brand new Prius on a 200 mile r/t roadtrip (one I do every month) to upstate NY. About 1/2 hr into my ride my back started hurting and my tailbone began throbbing. By the time I got back home that evening, I was in serious agony! I can't believe Toyota put so much attention into the technology-bluetooth, reverse cameras, smart key, the entire hybrid system-and the seats were just a mere afterthought! No lumbar support? Really???? Now I'm in the market for some seats that don't feel like rocks so I can tolerate my 80 mile r/t commute!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Actually you are wrong again, my friend.

    According to the JD Power survery that asks current owners if they'd re-up on their current vehicle the Prius is No 1 in the industry with a 93% 'YES' response. The Corvette is second at 92% and the Mini is third.

    Next case.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You DO NOT want to get into a posting war with me on this issue.

    With a 93% positive rating, I could post 93 "I love my Prius" quotes for every seven of yours.

    Don't go there, Amigo. Just admit you got it wrong and we can all move along happily.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    93% of people that eat at McDonald's love the food. That does not make it worth a crap. Same goes for the Prius. It is a rough riding, noisy, uncomfortable, poor handling excuse for a car. Fine for a flatlander that never exceeds 55 MPH. Nothing more good can be said about it. Same goes for the new Honda Insight. I can exchange opinions with you and our salesman friend till hell freezes over. You are fighting a losing battle. The few people that want a hybrid have them and their day in the sun is gone.

    Barry Obama and his ignorant minions will not force me to own or drive one. They have put the mark in the sand and the battle is yet to come.

    PS
    93% of what. Some poll on a rag like CR I suppose. I will accept the Edmund's owners and they are not so easily bullied. The Prius ratings have gone down. The 2009 ratings are the lowest since it was introduced. Toyota has gone in the crapper also.
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