TOYOTA AND HONDA HYBRID CARS
The Race is On?A new energy efficiency trend in auto manufacturing puts major manufacturersin the spotlight as they each strive to produce energy-efficient cars. Toyota and Honda have already premiered hybrid cars.
Honda Increasing Insight Hybrid Availability By More Than 50 Percent
Honda will increase the availability of the Insight gasoline-electric hybrid car - the first and only hybrid car sold in America — by more than 50 percent to about 6,500 vehicles in the 2000 calendar year.
The Insight is the most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in America with EPA mileage ratings of 61 mpg city and 70 mpg highway. In addition to its world's best gasoline fuel economy ratings, the Insight also meets California's stringent Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards.
The Insight went on sale in late December with a sales target of 4,000 vehicles for the 2000 calendar year. Initial demand, sparked by interest in the advanced hybrid technology and the Insight's high fuel efficiency, has created waiting lists for the sleek two-seat coupe.
"Consumer interest and demand has far exceeded our expectations," said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. "Some buyers want to be the first on their block with the new hybrid technology. Others are looking to improve their fuel economy and make an positive impact on environment."
The Insight has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Sierra Club's first-ever award for Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Automobile Magazine's "Technology of the Year" award.
"The Insight is an example of Honda's long-standing commitment to bringing advanced environmental technology to the marketplace," Elliott said. "Consumer reaction to the Insight and its hybrid powertrain is an indication of their acceptance of this technology."
The heart of the Insight's technology showcase is the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system featuring a fuel-efficient 3-cylinder, 1-liter engine that combines with a powerful, ultra-thin electric motor for added performance when needed. The electric motor is powered by advanced nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The IMA system also automatically recharges the battery pack, using energy generated during braking. As a result, the Insight does not require an outside source for recharging and never needs to be plugged in.
Innovative Hybrid Marketing Campaign Launches Toyota's Clean Car for the Future
Unprecedented On-line Demand Fuels Initial Prius Sales
The much-anticipated U.S. launch of Prius, Toyota's revolutionary gasoline/electric hybrid car, is underway with the unveiling of an innovative marketing campaign spearheaded by Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A.
The inherent challenge of marketing new technology to a new audience led TMS marketing to utilize a unique tactic. For nearly two years, the campaign has revolved around developing a dialogue with interested consumers. This resulted in a pool of over 40,000 interested consumers or "handraisers" in industry speak.
These prospects were given early access to the Prius microsite (http://toyota.com/prius) and its special order feature.
Prius is so clean-burning that it has been certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV). An achievement due not only to its sophisticated hybrid system but to its entire design which focuses on energy efficiencies. And yet even with this emphasis, Prius remains so incredibly practical and comfortable you'd never know you were driving a vehicle that consumes gas as if it were a precious commodity.
Even before arriving in showrooms across the country, nearly 1,800 of the revolutionary Toyota Prius have been sold via on-line purchase requests. Toyota dealers started placing U.S. orders for the world's first mass-produced gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle on June 30, 2000. The site officially opened to the public on July 14.
"Prius enthusiasts have been following the development and availability of this new technology for more than two years", said Steve Sturm, vice president of marketing for TMS. "We wanted to reward the enthusiastic reception for Prius among these early intenders by offering them the first opportunity to submit an on-line purchase request."
All orders will be finalized by dealerships on a first come/first serve basis, with initial deliveries arriving in August. In order for consumers to evaluate the Prius for an extended length of time, not just a short test-drive, 100 percent of the initial build will be allocated to a special dealer rental program. Interested consumers will be able to drive a Prius for up to one full day. This special demo program will begin in mid-July with the arrival of Prius at over 900 participating dealers.
Built for the future, Prius is the world's first mass-produced vehicle to use a combination of electric and gasoline power to boost fuel efficiency and dramatically lower exhaust emissions. In addition to complying with all current clean air regulations, Prius also meets California's strict Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standards. With a SULEV certification, Prius is 90 percent cleaner than the average car on the road today.
Toyota engineers are just as concerned about the air inside Prius as they are with the outside atmosphere. The sedan is so conscious of air quality that it won't even have an ashtray.
To coincide with Prius's summer introduction, interior comfort is enhanced by a layered air conditioning system that encompasses upper and lower tiers of circulation for maximum efficiency. And, when the car is stopped under normal driving conditions, the engine is turned off and the air conditioner compressor typically ceases operation, further reducing fuel consumption.
A stylish, roomy four-door five-passenger sedan, Prius requires no charging stations, nor any change in consumer driving habits. With more than 35,000 already on the road in Japan, the Prius is a commercial success. Prius, with such standard features as ABS brakes, air conditioning, power windows and AM/FM cassette stereo system, arrives in U.S. showrooms starting mid-July and is priced at $19, 995 MSRP. The price also includes an eight-year/100,000 - mile battery and hybrid system warranty, plus a free seven-day/24-hour roadside assistance.
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