The Hybrids Are Coming

Japan's newest models of the fuel-efficient vehicles are poised to take the American car industry by storm.
November 6, 2003, 2pm PST | David Gest
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"Hybrids, still only accounting for 1 percent of Japanese car sales, made a big splash at the car show that closed here [in Makuhari] Wednesday." Toyota aims "to create the ultimate eco car through fusion of Toyota's originally developed fuel-cell system and hybrid technology." The company "had received 17,000 orders for its new generation Prius, which went on sale here Sept. 1. The car, which offers 50 percent more power than the original version, went on sale in the United States Oct. 17." The cars are coming close to the mainstream. "Wielding a carrot, Japan's government now gives the purchaser of a hybrid car about $2,500 in tax credits. Wielding a stick, the government plans to impose draconian new emission control regulations in 2005...In contrast, Detroit is seen as falling behind in this technological battle. Ford's Escape, the first U.S. car with hybrid technology, has had its launch delayed by one year until next summer."

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 in International Herald Tribune
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