Role of Hybrid Cars in the Current Auto Crisis
The downfall of the economy has left a major effect on the automotive industry. The automotive industry crisis of 2008-2009 is just another of the unprecedented events in the car industry’s long history. The collapse of the economy and the consequent slowing down has affected the U.S. auto markets much more than the European or the Asian markets.
This fall started during the 2003-2008 energy crises that resulted in the collapse of poor fuel-efficient vehicles like sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The Big Three of the American market slowly had to admit their defeat when car sales began to slide. The rise in prices of raw materials that were essential for car manufacturing was another factor that led to its great plunge.
In the meantime, the Big Three, GM, Ford and Chrysler, were facing criticism for their irresponsible role in ignoring the impact their cars had on environmental politics. Al Gore, in the 2007 edition of his book, ‘An Inconvenient Truth”, said that these companies are “trying to sell large, inefficient gas-guzzlers” in spite of the poor demand for their products.
The U.S. auto’s fuel efficiency requirement was another critical aspect, which along with these other factors, made the market formulate a switch to European and Japanese cars for a solution. While the car manufacturers were striving for 45 mpg in Japan, 35 mpg in China, 52 mpg in the EU by 2012, this figure was a pitiful 25 mpg in the U.S. resulting in a public outcry. Moreover, the impact it would impose on the environment made it a major cause of worry for environmentalists and politicians alike.
As a result, in the middle of the auto crisis, some took this opportunity to present new potential options. These were hybrid cars. After the launch of the first hybrid car in 1999 in the U.S., the Honda Insight, there was no looking back. Statistics reveal that the first 17 sales in December 1999 was followed by the sale of 1.5 million hybrids.
Today the competition with hybrid car manufacturers has risen tremendously. Hybrid car manufacturers, like the 2010 Toyota Prius, 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid FWD and Honda Civic Hybrid 2010, aim at 51/48 mpg, 41/36 mpg and 40/45 mpg fuel efficiency, respectively, on both city roads and the highway. The increased efficiency of these cars brought down the cost to drive 125 miles to an amount between $1.71 and $1.31.
In the current economic crunch where every penny counts, hybrid cars ensure maximum service to its customers. Toyota, for example, offers a 100,000 mile warranty on the battery pack and emission components, and Honda offers an 80,000 mile warranty. The reduction in wear and tear results in better savings for consumers.
Annual greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lower, with the Honda Accord claiming 6.8 tons, and the Honda Civic Hybrid showing 4.4 tons annually, and an annual 8 tons for premier gasoline engine.
In short, with better fuel efficiency, interesting price ranges, attractive features and a faster payback period, these hybrid cars play a great role in the modern economic scenario.