April 26, 2005

U.S. hybrid vehicle registrations increase 81 percent in 2004

Southfield, Michigan – U.S. registrations for new hybrid vehicles rose to 83,153 in 2004 — an 81 percent increase from 2003 according to R. L. Polk & Co.

The Toyota Prius recorded 53,761 new hybrid vehicle registrations in 2004, a 33 percent increase over 2003. The Prius occupies 64 percent of the U.S. hybrid market, a sizeable lead over the Honda Civic, which had 25,586 registrations and 31 percent market share. Since the introduction of hybrid vehicles in 2000, the market has grown by more than 960 percent.

Hybrid vehicles are automobiles powered by internal combustion engines, but are also equipped with batteries recharged during driving and an electric motor to assist with power demand. There are different levels of hybrids, ranging from minor systems to “full hybrid” systems.

The range of hybrid vehicle choices continues to expand. In addition to the Toyota Prius; Honda Civic, Accord and Insight, and Ford Escape, several new hybrid models were introduced in the past few months including the Dodge Ram, Lexus RX 400h and the Mercury Mariner. The 2006 model year will expect to see the introduction of a hybrid version of the Saturn VUE, Toyota Highlander and the Nissan Altima. Major manufacturers are planning a total of almost a dozen new hybrid vehicles in the next three years.

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