Toyota is predicting a 40 percent increase in worldwide hybrid car sales. Considering they had a 33 percent increase in 2006, that may be asking for a lot.
A forty percent increase translates to 430,000 hybrid units sold worldwide in 2007.
How they can do it
- Build off their reputation
- Introduce new hybrid cars in new places
- Get the tax credit extended
- Focus on hybrids
If they continue to introduce hybrids into new markets, they should increase worldwide sales, even if the US marketplace has its issues.
Toyota has been pressing for an extension of the federal tax credit on hybrids. Specifically, they passed the 60,000 units sold limit last year and, without an extension, the credits will expire in 2007. Toyota has blamed a decrease in sales on that phasing out. If they succeed in pressing for an extension, despite a lack of support from other carmakers, it would make an obvious difference in their sales.
Toyota is planning on introducing new hybrid cars in 2007, while revamping some of the old. That includes new editions of the Highlander Hybrid.
Toyota has focused in on hybrid technology unlike other carmakers. DaimlerChrysler, for instance, is pushing for diesels. Ford has backed off its promises to build 250,000 hybrids by 2010 and has instead looked to alternative fuels. GM is looking into all the possibilites. By focusing in on hybrids, Toyota has dominated the hybrid car marketplace.
- Tax credits are phasing out
- New EPA rules
The EPA is changing the rules on how it calculates the mpg you see on stickers. And any 2008 models coming out in the next year will have to post the new numbers. And, reportedly, hybrids will suffer the most from the new reductions as the EPA switches to more 'real-life' mpg ratings. First, hybrids have farther to fall, as a 10% reduction applied across the board will bring those with higher mpg down more. And second, most pundits are predicting hybrids will drop more than 10% (some going to say it will drop as much as 25%) as they believe hybrids will suffer more by running the air conditioners or running in cold weather conditions. While that remains to be seen, it may take away some of the 'wow' factor from those high fuel economy numbers.