No really, the Prius really is a terrific automobile. With thousands of miles on this trip so far in all kinds of conditions, I have to say the Prius is comfortable, reliable, effortless to drive, and of course, gets great gas mileage.
What’s interesting is that despite having sold over half a million Prius in America over the last ten years, Toyota’s hybrid still only represents ten percent of their total light-duty vehicle sales. In fact hybrids in general only account for two and a half percent of total light duty car sales in the entire country, and are only projected to reach maybe eleven percent by 2015.
What the hell is going on? With all the pragmatic benefits of ownership, way are the Prius and its hybrid comrades falling down in the eyes of consumers?
I think the answer is that Americans just like cars, real cars with power and performance.
A car that is great at all the boring parts of driving like the Prius, just doesn’t cut it for many of us.
That doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with a Prius owner’s decision to buy one. In fact, I’m glad there are so many Prius, and I wish there were more of them on the road.
If we want to save the world however, we’re going to have to do better than 11 percent. If hybrids don’t have what it takes to move the meter faster, than America and the rest of the world needs an alternative that will. We need a car that can save the world and give us what we want.
I think the Jetta TDI is a step in that direction.