The Nikkei [sub] detected a brand-new trend: Cars with an internal combustion engine. In Japan, 20 percent of new cars sold are hybrids. Elsewhere, especially in China and Europe, hybrid cars have a bit of a hard time. “Although being environmentally friendly is important, saving money is tops,” an unnamed Nissan exec told the Tokyo wire, and added that consumers in these markets look more closely at how much they can save on fuel costs in relation to vehicle prices. Now this trend is reaching Japan.
Volkswagen has always been a hybrid skeptic and instead did bet on making engines smaller. “Sales of Volkswagen vehicles reached 33,414 units in the January-July period, leaping 22% on the year,” in Japan, the Nikkei notes. (Closed market propagandists take note: If you give the Japanese what they want, that allegedly closed market suddenly opens…)
Nissan will sell a new Note subcompact next month that “is equipped with an engine that has been slimmed from 1.5 liters to 1.2 liters. A supercharger keeps output the same as the current model,” The Nikkei writes. That car gets 25.2km per liter, says The Nikkei, “almost on par with Honda’s Fit hybrid, but is some 150,000 yen cheaper.” That’s nearly $2,000, and you can buy a lot of gas with the savings.
If The Nikkei is right with spotting this trend, then there might be hope for Mazda and its Skyactiv technology.
Even in the U.S. the trend veers back to the lowly ICE. In its July 2012 market round-up, Hybridcars says:
“The take rate for hybrids of 2.7 to 2.8 percent has been consistent the last three months and below the 3.4 percent achieved in March and April when fuel prices were higher.”