Prius Creator Predicts 20 Percent Global Market Share For Hybrids
Takeshi Uchiyamada, the father of the Toyota Prius, has made a bold proclamation for the segment he was largely responsible for founding. According to an interview with Automotive News Europe, Uchiyamada believes that the global market share for hybrids will soon reach 20 percent.
“I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now,” Uchiyamada said.
While hybrids have become increasingly popular in the United States, as evidenced by the fact that the Prius was the best-selling car in California during 2013, the segment is still struggling to find its feet in European markets. According to JATO Dynamics, combined hybrid vehicle sales (including petrol-electric, diesel-electric, and PHVs) leapt by 40 percent in 2013; however, the 214,237 hybrid units sold in Europe amounted to less than a two percent market share.
Being able to compete with the diesel powertrains that Europeans love so dearly (and that provide fuel efficiency figures comparable to that of hybrids without the increased costs) is a significant part of the strategy to make Toyota’s hybrid vehicles even more prevalent on roads around the world. As such, Uchiyamada suggests cost-cutting by way of producing larger volume as a major step in that direction: “Suppliers need higher volumes to slash costs of components specific to plug-in models, including batteries that should be bigger and more capable than the ones used in traditional hybrids.”
Uchiyamada did not, however, mention anything to do with making hybrids more acceptable and viable in the world’s largest economy, China. Government officials in Beijing have been working to incentivize the purchase of EVs and hybrids for buyers, and getting more of Toyota’s vehicles into China may just be the ticket to fulfilling Uchiyamada’s prophecy of a 20 percent global market share for hybrids.