Because of how badly the auto industry market is going right now, the car companies are all shifting plans in order to cut costs to the minimum right now. That includes delaying or even axing plans for future cars.
Which is why Chrysler cut production of their large SUVs including the hybrid versions and why GM cut plans for their next generation of hybrid SUVs. And more recently, GM has (not confirmed, yet) to delay production of their plug-in Saturn Vue.
But what they aren't cutting is the more fuel efficient hybrid cars. For instance, GM has gone out of their way to let people know the Chevy Volt has been excluded from all talk of delays or cut-backs. And now Toyota has announced their plans to deal with the economic climate. They are cutting costs as much as possible. And they are accelerating their hybrid plans.
Source:Toyota Wields the Budget Axe
Hybrids remain the sacred cows of Toyota. In a conference call with financial analysts and media Thursday, Toyota executives said the automaker, already dominating in hybrids with its popular Prius, will "accelerate its hybrid strategy," as hybrids are critical to Toyota's future competitive position. That strategy includes the introduction in Japan of four new hybrids, including the next-generation of the Prius, next year.That's right, they are accelerating their hybrid plans. It's easy to see that, despite the reduction in hybrid car sales, Toyota obviously feels hybrids are a strong point for the future.
There's an obviously strong message here about hybrid technology and plug-in technology that has been developed to cut gas consumption. Despite the lowering in gas prices, major auto companies are continuing the switch. Part of that may be the upcoming CAFE changes and part of it may be the current economic climate (people don't want to spend as much money on cars and gasoline as they did in the past).
GM obviously agrees. Even while they are staring down the barrel of bankruptcy in as little as six months at their current pace, GM refuses to cut costs on a car (Chevy Volt) that has never been done before and is as much of an experiment as hybrids were a decade ago.
It's quite possible that, if GM hasn't gone the way of the dodo by then, the Volt could define their future.