Small hybrid and plug-in cars: A skewed perspective

The Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup truck isn't a big seller. Can that be changed? Do US automakers even want to sell hybrid or plug-in pickup trucks?

Can the Chevy Silverado hybrid be turned into a sale's leader?

Light duty trucks dominate US market share and Big 3 profits, again

In recent weeks, the CEO of Better Place has stated that when his company focuses on the US market, it will focus on electric SUVs. Similarly, one of Tesla's co-founders recently claimed that small EVs are rather insignificant, and that hybridizing pickup trucks and SUVs was more beneficial.

Judging by last month's auto sales, with light duty trucks achieving almost 53 percent of marketshare, both seem to have a point.

Once again the Ford F-Series dominated US auto sales, selling almost twice as many units as the closest non-truck competitor.

Likewise, the top selling cars were larger sedans, not compacts like the upcoming Nissan Leaf, for instance.

Consequently, US automakers are gaining share because pickup trucks and SUVs are again selling well. More important, increased light duty truck sales mean increased profits for Big 3 automakers. Obviously, that seems good for a beleaguered, almost bankrupt, but hugely important base of US manufacturing, despite the negative effects of declining US fleet fuel economy.

But is it sustainable?

If given a choice it seems US consumers want pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers and large sedans. Therefore, wouldn't it be wise to focus a greater share of hybridization and electrification efforts towards such vehicles? If the goal is change, isn't this the most important segment?


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