There's a report out making the allegation that car makers are 'forcing' customers to accept luxury items in order to buy a hybrid car. The allegations are being made by the Union of Concerned Scientists. To that I say, Ya, so?
Car makers (Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM, Nissan, etc...) invested a lot of money in developing their hybrid cars. They can't sell the public on just the engine, however. Not at the price they need to sell the car at and still hope to make money on it.
So, they have been adding in luxury items to the cars right from the beginning. That allows them to justify the price tag ($20,000 or more... much more for some), and gives people justification for the price they are paying.
"Hybrids don't have to be luxury vehicles," said Don Anair, the senior vehicles analyst with UCS's Clean Vehicles Program. "They should be within the reach of all Americans. Car buyers shouldn't be forced to buy high-end bells and whistles when fuel economy and reducing emissions are their top priority."The problem with that is hybrid technology just isn't within reach of all Americans. That's just the truth. The second engine (and all the other parts that mate the two together and help them to play nice with each other) costs money to build and create new types of.
Look at the new Honda Insight. There's a car that has the least 'forced features' and as such, is billed as the cheapest hybrid you can buy. According to the advertising, it's the hybrid for all. But all means those who can afford to pay $20K for a new car. And for $20K, you don't get any of the luxury features you would expect in a twenty thousand dollar car.