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Toyota SA: 'Why hybrid sales are slow'

2014-05-21 06:50

GO GREEN, GO SLOW: Toyota has three hybrid models on sale in SA. The Yaris HSD is the 'most exciting' to drive, yet sales are slow in SA. Image: Toyota

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - With the news of Toyota reaching it's 100 000th hybrid sale in the UK and Lexus not far behind with 50 000 sold Wheels24 wondered how well things were going with hybrids in South Africa?

Not that wonderful but Toyota SA has pointed out some valid reasons why - and the new ANC government might do well to try to understand the situation if it's serious about air pollution.

A Toyota SA spokesman said: "With reference to local sales, we admit hybrids have not achieved the kind of retail numbers that they have elsewhere. The most obvious reason for this is that financial rebates offered by all First World countries are not available in South Africa.

"Hybrid technology is not cheap but in Europe and the USA the financial kickback that buyers receive from the state (on initial purchase and when it comes to insurance and taxes such as emissions and London's famous "congestion" tax) make it a far more viable proposition for our European counterparts.

"Road use concessions for hybrids are another factor that sways buyers. In Los Angeles, for example, there is a lane on most highways dedicated to hybrids and battery vehicles.


"That said, Toyota has made a concerted effort to make hybrid variants more accessible. The new Yaris HSD, for example, is the most affordable hybrid on the market - and Toyota has sweetened the deal by upping the specification count on all its hybrid models (touchscreen displays and alloy rims across the range).

"Also Toyota is making hybrids more mainstream - the Prius kicked off the trend but now there are bread-and-butter models such as the Yaris which have full hybrid technology. The new Auris pushes the envelope even further - it's the most drivable hybrid product to be made available - think of it as the thinking man's GTi.

"In Europe this model makes up a third of the Auris sales.

"You can't just look at fuel consumption when talking hybrids - you have to take into account emissions, in particular particulate emissions. Diesels, while frugal, are major polluters when it comes to particulate emissions (there's a lot of research being put into this and preliminary findings are not good). 

"Driving style will also determine when diesel is preferable over hybrid power. If 80% of your driving consists of highway cruising then a diesel will most likely prove more economical.

"If, however, you are going to be in stop/start city traffic for a good part of your driving life then a hybrid would be better - diesels don't like short journeys and the advantage of a hybrid in traffic is that you will be driving in electric mode for a good portion of the journey (electric = zero emissions + zero fuel use)."

Read more on:    toyota  |  south africa  |  hybrids

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