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Hybrids - News, Reviews and Views in the Press



  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Well it's one opinion and it's just that, one man's opinion, but I do agree with you that a multi-faceted approach is the best. There never be a one-size-fits-all solution to such a varied population as ours.

    Fandom has to be discounted. Looking at the vehicle makers themselves it appears that all, including Toyota, recognize that it will take a variety of technologies to reduce our fuel usage while keeping our vehicle options open. Toyota promotes the HSD heavily but it's only in the midsized categories. It doesn't ( yet ) try to promote it in the light vehicles and it has already said that it's not likely to be used in the heavy vehicles. Honda seems to be allowed free rein in using the IMA in smaller vehicles and GM's 2-Mode seems most capable in the heavier range.

    But, now that Toyota does have it's stand alone hybrid on the road with wider and wider acceptance it's only smart marketing to continue banging the drum for it's appropriate segment.

    In my own case it was all about the money ( value ) and the willingness to support new technology to save even more money.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    To get a hybrid drivetrain and it's associated benefits, you have to MOVE UP the model chain to the TCH.

    Why is it so difficult to accept the fact that when you move up to a TCH you are going to pay a $5k+ premium? Why try to muddy the water with all the foo foo gadgets that are of little value to many drivers. Like was stated you cannot just buy a basic Camry with JUST the Hybrid option. I really doubt the person that buys the TCH is interested in the fact that it has a better 0-60 MPH time than the basic 4 cylinder. If 0-60 is important you would be better off with the V6.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes there is a 'premium'. Just going by MSRP's
    CE........... ~$20200
    LE 4c....... ~$21900
    TCH base.. ~$25900
    LE V6...... ~$24200
    XLE 4c..... ~$25200
    TCH XLE... ~$28000

    But there's also a 'premium' between a CE 4c and an LE V6. Why pay $4000 more for an LE V6 than a CE 4c? Won't a basic CE 4c get you to the same destination the same day most times. To expand it further why not just get a 5 y.o. CE 4c @ $10000 or so? It'll run another 7-10 yrs easily and it too will get you to your destination the same day as a new LE V6.

    The basic TCH is about $4000 more than a similarly equipped 4c LE and about $2000 more than a basic V6 LE. The performance falls between the two but the TCH has much much better fuel economy than either...and currently it gets a $650 tax credit for most buyers.

    If the buyer sees the value then he or she will choose it. That's all it comes down to in the end.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    I was only agreeing with moparbad on this one. If a person wants a basic CE Camry that gets the added MPG of the hybrid they will pay a $5700 premium. That is according to your price schedule. Again why is it so hard for those of you close to the hybrids to just admit that the PREMIUM is a lot more than most people are willing to pay. If someone wants the faster V6 they will pay the added price. That does not make the hybrid premium any less just because Toyota charges $4k for a V6 engine in a Camry.

    What is the breakdown in sales of the different Camry models so far this year. That would be a telling story. I believe someone posted that the 4 cylinder models make up about 80% of the sales.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The breakdown I'd guess is a closely guarded secret. I've never seen such a figure.

    the 'premium' subject keeps going round and round and it will never be resolved because there really is one but it's not $5700 for the hybrid.

    The premium for the hybrid is $15000 ..over a 5 y.o. CE. Ridiculous you say. Ok so too then is comparing a base model CE to a TCH. The real premium for a TCH is actually $15000 because for basic transportation that's all you need to spend ~ $10000.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    One question:

    In all your years of car buying, have you EVER heard of anyone in the car selling or car buying business calling the extra money required to move up from a low-end 4-cyl to a V6 a "V6 premium?"


    No, I didn't think so.

    So then why is moving up to a hybrid from a low-end v4 now supposed to be called a "hybrid premium?"

    You see how nonsensical the term is?

    You pay more for the hybrid version of the car because it's a better-equipped car, just the same as you pay more for a V6 because it's a more expensive to manufacture, better-equipped car for a higher price.

    There is nothing called a "Leather Premium."
    There is nothing called a "Navigation Premium."
    There is nothing called a "V6 Premium."
    There is nothing called a "Alloy Wheel."
    So there should be nothing called a "Hybrid Premium."
  • talmy1talmy1 Posts: 55
    You are right, it doesn't fit any definition of "premium", except to imply being ripped off (if the added cost was not justified by the feature itself. But, at least around here there is a premium in that the dealers will discount the ICE Camrys much more than a hybrid Camry, so the dealer gets a premium, but it isn't $4000!

    How about if we call it the "hybrid charge"? As to what it actually is, well that's a problem since the hybrid drive train isn't a separate line item on the price list. What exactly is one comparing to, then? So some people could say how little the charge is by comparing to a V6 XLE, and somebody else could say it's $30,000 for a typical TAH over a city bus pass.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    As far as what to call it, why don't we just start calling it now what it will be called in the car business within 5-7 years:

    The hybrid option.

    And as far as comparing prices regarding car versus car, the most logical way (which the hybrid naysayers refuse to agree with ) is to compare "similarly equipped cars" to determine how much the hybrid option really costs. And it's really on a buyer-by-buyer basis.

    Someone shopping for a base CE is not likely going to be shopping also for a base TCH. Most people I know shop for cars based on the price they can pay or the monthly installment they can afford - not by the equipment on the various model lines of a car.

    Someone might shop with a certain FEATURE in mind that they want to have on the car, i.e. leather/NAV/backup camera, but they need to know at the start that those options raise the price of the car.

    If you are shopping for a Camry, you just must realize that better-equipped models, as you move up the line, COST MORE money.
  • talmy1talmy1 Posts: 55
    "Similarly equipped cars" -- there's the problem. Buyer-by-buyer basis is true to a point, but lets try to look at it objectively.

    What could be a single model, Camry, with a list of options, has been stratified into CE, LE, XLE, Hybrid, and, I will ignore here, SE models. And the available options are set to encourage higher models (the CE is a bargain compared the the LE, but has very limited list of options). The 2008 Hybrid is almost an LE, except the Hybrid has automatic climate control which is otherwise only available, and standard, on the XLE. The 2007 Hybrid is almost an XLE, except the XLE has reclining rear seats and fake wood trim. And for the comparison should one use 4 cylinder ICE + automatic transmission or the V6?

    This is not meant to be a criticism of Toyota, because all manufactures use this confusing scheme.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I was only agreeing with moparbad on this one. If a person wants a basic CE Camry that gets the added MPG of the hybrid they will pay a $5700 premium. That is according to your price schedule."

    I think there is another factor that people are not seeing here. The hybrid premium is known only to Toyota (exactly how much the hybridization costs). Trying to do basic subtraction isn't correct unless we know the actual profit received from each of the options tacked on the TCH.

    Every option that is added to a vehicle represents profit to the manufacturer. This is why the TCH is only provided with lots of options, and why Toyota tends to build "loaded" TCHs. The added profit from the options is offsetting the cost of the HSD. Toyota would have to charge a lot more for a "vanilla" hybrid Camry if they simply offered it as an option - and that would raise eyebrows for those who are looking at the true "cost" of hybridization.

    However, I don't think Toyota would that - they would subsidize the cost of the hybrid components, as they did for years on the Prius. So it is far more profitable to do it the way the TCH is now produced - loaded.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    -from JD Power
    “High gas prices, coupled with consumers becoming more familiar with alternative powertrain technology, are definitely increasing consumer interest in hybrids and flexible fuels,” said Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, the additional price premiums associated with hybrid vehicles, which can run from $3,000 to $10,000 more than a comparable non-hybrid vehicle, remain the biggest concern among consumers considering a hybrid. The AEI highlights several non-hybrid models available that help consumers reduce fuel use and emissions.”

    Consumers Interested in Hybrids and Flexible Fuel Vehicles
    The study, which examines consumer perceptions regarding hybrids, diesel and flexible fuel vehicles, finds that fewer than one-fourth (23%) of consumers say they will only consider a gasoline-powered model for their next new vehicle. Among consumers who expect to acquire a new vehicle within the next two years, 57 percent indicate that they are considering a hybrid vehicle, while 49 percent are considering a flexible fuel (E85 ethanol-based fuel blend) vehicle and 12 percent a diesel.

    On average, consumers considering a hybrid expect to pay approximately $5,250 more for the powertrain option. Acknowledging the increased vehicle price, these consumers expect an average fuel economy improvement of 28 miles per gallon compared to a similar vehicle powered by a gasoline internal combustion engine, when in reality, hybrid owners report getting an average improvement of just 9 mpg. Consumers considering a diesel expect to pay approximately $2,800 more for the option and expect an average fuel economy improvement of 21 mpg, while diesel owners report getting a 12 mpg improvement on average. Those considering an E85 vehicle are unsure whether to expect to pay more for the option or see an improvement in fuel economy, but instead hope the use of the ethanol-based fuel blend will help reduce U.S. dependency on foreign fuels. The availability of fuel or fueling stations is the largest concern among consumers considering a flexible fuel or diesel-powered vehicle.

    “One of the biggest challenges for alternative powertrains is that consumers often have unrealistic expectations for the fuel-saving abilities of these vehicles,” Marshall said. “And particularly with hybrids, actual fuel performance often doesn’t live up to the vehicle’s EPA estimate. There is a real need to educate consumers about the technology and its benefits. Managing consumer expectations and lowering the cost premium will be instrumental in accelerating acceptance.”
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Are more tax breaks for hybrids really what this country needs?
    Congressman, actor Rob Lowe push for plug-in car tax breaks

    And Rob Lowe is not the only one.
    Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Barack Obama, D-Ill., want to offer consumers up to $7,500 in tax credits to convert hybrids to plug-ins. Dubbed the "Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence On the Mideast Act of 2007," or the FREEDOM Act, it also would give automakers incentives to build plug-in vehicles.-end

    source J.D. Power-
    While actual hybrid vehicle owners tend to be older (55) than the average new-vehicle buyer and more affluent, with an average annual household income of $113,400, the study finds that consumers who indicate that they are considering a hybrid tend to be younger (averaging 43 years old), with an average annual household income of $88,500.

    Do people that make >$100,000 a year really need a tax break to provide the incentive to buy a hybrid?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It's interesting that JDP and others apparently have been able to put numbers on people's expectations. I haven't heard these figures but I find them interesting.

    Unrealistic? Probably, in both directions; i.e. extra cost and fuel savings.

    Here is a key concept that I keep showing. At this specific point in time it doesn't matter which option you ( the buyer ) choose. At $3/gal and 15000 mi annually both an ICE only and a hybrid of the same vehicle will cost you about the same total money over 5 yrs of driving.

    The best value now is the HCH due to the $2100 tax credit at the moment. Over 5 yrs the HCH will cost significantly less to drive than a comparable EX AT Civic.

    TCH vs 4c XLE Camry..the same total cost
    Prius vs Matrix XR AT .. the same total cost

    The only significant factor as I see it is that the hybrids offer a hedge against future fuel price increases. If fuel is $5/gal in 5 yrs the hybrids will be a clear winner.

    However to minimize total transportation costs it's always better to buy a lesser vehicle, preferably a used one.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Do people that make >$100,000 a year really need a tax break to provide the incentive to buy a hybrid?

    LOL that doesn't go very far in certain parts of the country with a family of 4, 5 or 6 after fed, state and local taxes are deducted.

    $100,000 gross with an 'effective tax rate' of ~50% leaves $50,000 or about $4000 a month.
    -$2500 Mortgage, taxes, interest
    -$500 gas on 2 vehicles for a month
    -$200 auto insurance
    -$500 utilities, cable & phones
    ZERO debt ( :surprise: ) no car payments...

    that leaves $1500 for..
    Life insurance, tuition, church, spending money, dance lessons, sports uniforms, misc.

    Oh yeah...Food
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Thanks for pointing out that just like MPG in reality, the expectation of higher hybrid option cost is too high.

    Is the diesel option on passenger cars $2800? Not usually. Just like the hybrid option for cars is nowhere near $5250.

    This is a study which measured PRICE AND MPG EXPECTATIONS, not reality.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    rhetorical question: "Do people that make >$100,000 a year really need a tax break to provide the incentive to buy a hybrid?"


    Yes, because:

    1. they are taxed in a higher bracket and get to keep less of their money percentagewise,
    2. they are closer to retirement (55) and therefore are most likely in SAVE SAVE SAVE mode by age 55,
    3. as you enter higher income brackets, the cost to live your accustomed lifestyle goes up,
    4. tax incentives for hybrids benefit the $30K family just as they do the $100K family,
    5. some people (incorrectly so in my estimation but this is true nonetheless) use the tax break as a dealbreaker on what car they buy and end up buying the cleaner emission hybrid, which is good for all of us.

    If tax breaks for gasoline/electric hybrid can stimulate 250,000 buyers a year, then maybe tax breaks for plug-in hybrids can stimulate even more clean car purchases.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I don't think the purpose of these tax breaks is to reward Toyota's car dealerships and their salesmen. If it allows the dealerships to move cars at MSRP as opposed to invoice then that is exactly what's happening. If the buyer is actually getting a break its a lot smaller than he thinks. I say Toyota because they are responsible for the bulk of all hybrid sales. Making them the biggest beneficiary of this particular piece of tax legislation.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    That is exactly correct. When the tax credits got smaller the dealers had to discount the hybrids to get them off the lots. As was pointed out people that buy hybrids are mostly fat cats that do not need the tax credit and more than likely will not get it because of their tax bracket. So the only ones making out are the automakers.

    I have no idea why the Hollywood set is pushing for tax credits on PHEVs. There are NONE for sale in the USA.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    gary says, "I have no idea why the Hollywood set is pushing for tax credits on PHEVs. There are NONE for sale in the USA."

    Let me 'splain it to you:

    They are getting ready for the inevitable, which is PHEVs for sale in the USA. And you know very well that as long as things take in Congress, starting this early is a good idea.

    Whether it's the Hollywood set, the Green Bay set, the New York City set, or the BumFrap Louisiana set, we should be glad that someone is laying the groundwork for trying to get the PHEVs out of the gate fast when they do become available.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That is exactly correct. When the tax credits got smaller the dealers had to discount the hybrids to get them off the lots. As was pointed out people that buy hybrids are mostly fat cats that do not need the tax credit and more than likely will not get it because of their tax bracket. So the only ones making out are the automakers

    Using the word 'mostly' makes this an exageration, except that it might be true in SoCal. If definitely is not true in the working middle class/military area of SE VA and N Carolina where a $50-$100K family income is predominant.

    As you know all generalizations are wrong. ;)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    I know way more family incomes under $50k than those above here in So CAL. Any family making $100k can afford to buy a car without incentives.

    Are you going to try and tell this forum that the tax incentives did not benefit the dealers more than the buyers?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    They are getting ready for the inevitable

    Maybe in your mind it is inevitable. Until a reasonable storage device is invented, they and mainstream EVs are not inevitable.

    We had a $4000 tax credit until the end of 2006 on EVs. The major recipients were those that bought golf carts. It was based on the new cost. That was a waste of legislative energy just as the PHEV tax credit will be. Not to mention the wasted tax dollars.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sure, tax credits for Golf Carts is indeed a waste of tax dollars.

    But tax credits for a road-viable PHEV which can be used for a commute by hundreds of thousands of US citizens is NOT a waste of tax dollars.

    If Toyota can do a PHEV Prius for less than CalCars, say only by 20% less, that puts the Plug-in option at about $10K. If the govt could tax credit half of that 10K, then it would certainly hasten development and increase sales.

    I know I'm going to be a customer for the first PHEV that comes on market, and I pay my taxes. So any tax break I get for being an early adopter I will be happy to get.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    In the past when some dealers in SoCal were selling the Prius at $3000-$4000 above sticker the tax rebate was a boondoggle to those dealers.

    However in more competitive areas such as the Middle Atl states where Prius were/are going for $200 over invoice( ! ) the tax benefit is far more beneficial to the buyer and to Toyota than to the dealer.

    Here on the EC a dealer selling at $200 over invoice might make $600 total from which he has to pay a salesperson $100. The buyer who previouisly got a $3100 tax benefit was by far the winner. It also allowed Toyota to sell more and recover development costs quicker. In this regard, at least here, the program worked to perfection benefitting the two parties having the risks.

    Even at the current reduced credit of ~$790 the greater benefit is to the buyer..and the manufacturer.

    Yes in this area that is exactly what I'm telling this forum. ;)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    Since the majority of Prius were sold in CA it is safe to say the CA dealers got most of the wasted tax credit dollars.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    True if most were sold in CA and all CA dealers had the infamous ADMs. I know a lot were sold in CA but I don't think it was more than half.

    I'm guessing that most of the ADMs were in isolated stores in SoCal. I don't believe that Longo did.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    CA has 12% of the US population. Would be interesting to know what percentage of all Prius sales have been in California. Was running around 26% after 2005.

    Hybrid now the best-selling car in Silicon Valley, but Camry, Corolla, Accord and Civic still lead nationwide

    The Prius' newfound status reflects the continued greening of Silicon Valley. Rod Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State, and a Prius owner, listed sustained higher gas prices, the availability of car pool lane stickers for solo Prius drivers -- no more are being issued -- and the intelligence of local residents as factors in the Prius' popularity.

    "Are we ahead of the curve, or what?" asked Diridon. "The intellectual capacity within Silicon Valley is amazing," he said. "That higher level of education reflects a higher level of understanding of the terrible consequences of global warming."-end

    People in Silicon Valley are the most intelligent?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Funny I was sure it was New Yorkers... weird that they'd think that out west. :P :P
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    People in Silicon Valley are the most intelligent?

    Hard to argue against that. They put together most of the Dot.Com bubble that filched the country of billions from 401K accounts. A lot of 35 years olds sitting with millions in the bank while lots of 65 year olds wonder what happened to the retirement they were hoping for. So they can afford the over priced hybrids.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Toyota announced today a basic version of the Prius with less standard equipment and a lower price for 2009. The base prices of the normal model and Touring model were increased slightly.

    Increased competition and the desire to reach a broader market were cited as reasons. 4 years on the market probably had something to do with it as well. This should be the last year ( 18 mos ) of this model.
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