Wednesday, April 23, 2008

US Hybrid Sales jump while overall car sales drop

A gallon of gas costs $3.57 cents in Quincy Tuesday. With gas prices soaring through the roof, we wanted to know how car companies plan to adapt.

Hybrid car sales are so popular at one car dealership in Quincy that it's nearly gone dry.

Shottenkirk Toyota only has four hybrid vehicles left on its lot. Three of them are Toyota Camrys, the other is the Toyota Highlander. Now they've completely sold out of all its Priuses, but they've ordered four more. Two of them have already been pre-sold.

Michael Hoxie, Shottenkirk Toyota, said, "the problem is the supply and demand thing, especially with the Prius because Toyota literally could sell every one they could build, they just can't build them fast enough."

If Michael Hoxie had it his way, the whole lot would be filled with hybrid vehicles.

So is there any down sides of owning a hybrid?

"Not that I've seen, they come with a 100,000 mile warranty on the power pack, we've had terrific success with them and when we occasionally trade for one, we almost sell one immediately, they've been great cars," said Hoxie.

They sold nearly 100 hybrid vehicles in 2007. The Camry and Prius are its two best selling models. Those cars have higher fuel efficiencies than a regular gasoline run vehicle. The Camry gets up to 34 miles per gallon while the Prius gets 48. Buying the hybrid 2008 Camry over the regular 2008 Camry will save you more than $1500 a year on gas.

So will car companies adapt to the rising fuel costs and produce more hybrids?

"We keep hearing rumors that they're going to build more and more but the demand is so high right now, it's really hard to quantify how many you could sell," said Hoxie.

While overall car sales in the U.S. have dropped, hybrid sales have increased.

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