No matter what the government does, the marketplace wins…


No matter what the government does, the marketplace wins…

The projections are in for auto sales for 2011. Leading the pack will be trucks and SUV’s with substantial increases in each category. Down nearly 10% will be hybrid sales. Some say that people buying a hybrid Prius or Honda will buy a high tech Leaf or Volt instead.

I’m not so sure. I was talking to a woman down the street the other day and commented on her new Lexus hybrid sedan (Nice looking car). She said it was “all right,” but she preferred the SUV she had traded in on it. She has two kids and strapping them in the back of the sedan, even though it’s a 4 door, is a lot more difficult than in her SUV. And when she has to include the dog, wow.

My next door neighbor (I have told this story before) totaled her Prius but replaced it with a Rav4. Her husband told me that the accident that crushed the Prius was relatively minor, but scared her to death and he couldn’t get her back into one.

And I live where there is no snow, icy roads, or rain and slippery streets in the summertime. For folks living in the rest of the country, I cannot imagine that someone having a choice of spending upwards of 30K for a Hybrid or electric (after rebate) or the same amount or less (I found over 55 models of SUV under 30K and half of them were US made). Sure you might save 20% on your fuel, but that is about $350 a year. I would take almost 15 years to make up the difference. In that time the kids would be grown and you could buy your Mini or whatever.

The two women I mentioned above have young families. They are interested in safety, security, and ease of loading/unloading. If they are anything like Andy, they take kids to school, pick them up, go to soccer practice, play dates, trips to grandmother’s house, and that’s all in a single week and doesn’t include shopping, and the like.

Most folks make decisions based on their personal needs and desires. I understand jumping on the “Green” bandwagon, but when folks read in the paper about record freezing and record increases in the polar ice caps, and then look at their kids and all the issues dealing with them they fail to hearth and home, first. As it should be.

Automobile companies build hybrids because the government forced them to do so. They continued to have SUV’s in the pipeline because they knew the consumers would buy them. The marketplace will out.


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John Van Horn

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