The Internal Combustion Engine Strikes Back

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the internal combustion engine strikes back

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.”

Join the conversation
2 of 69 comments
  • Glenn Mercer Glenn Mercer on Aug 12, 2012

    This is by no means the definitive word on the subject, and to boot this is old data, but I have a chart from a consulting firm that took a USA-spec 2002 Ford Focus and ran it through the US, EU, and Japanese test cycles. It registered 31 mpg in the US cycle, 27 on the EU cycle, and 23 in the Japanese test. Interestingly, at that time the average mph of the USA test was 30 mph, the EU version 21 mph, and the Japanese one an unbelievable (to me at least!) 15 mph average speed. The Japanese test broke 45 mph only once! All the above makes no general point other than that "the test cycle is everything." And of course the Spark data you provided completely contradicts the data I just typed in above. And of course the test car was optimized for the USA test and not the others (which makes a difference since we know that the rpm/ignition/fuel "map" the ECU uses will of course be different from region to region, even if the engine is mechanically identical.) Beats the crap outta me...

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Aug 13, 2012

    “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…) Yeah, and the market was up 36%! The best selling import group skyrocketed to almost 1.5% of the market!It isn't closed at all. Empirical evidence shows that ALL imports combined grab almost 6%!

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.