Toyota Won't Yield Hybrid Leadership Easily
Toyota Motor Corp.’s new plug-in Prius threatens to cast a shadow over competitors’ hybrids.
A successful debut of the Prius PHV, which Toyota will begin selling in 2012, may help Toyota secure its place as the industry leader in gas-and-electric vehicles and undermine General Motors Co.’s prospects with its Chevrolet Volt. Though the Volt, introduced a year ago, was the first plug-in hybrid on the market, its sales are trailing the company’s target. The model has also been beset by a government investigation into battery fires after collision tests.
“Toyota carries the image of being a leader in hybrids and the recent problems with the Volt’s batteries give consumers an extra reason to choose the plug-in Prius over the Volt,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “Toyota’s new plug-in Prius will definitely have a negative impact on GM’s sales of the Volt.”
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