Case analysis - Is there a hybrid automobile in your future? Introduction The search for energy efficient and perpetual motion machines has been an ongoing effort of the world’s best engineers and innovations keep cropping up now and then which revolutionize technologies of the future…
As automobiles cannot be done without in modern life, the natural choice would be to design and build vehicles which could run on some miraculous, alternative, non polluting fuel with minimal or zero emission. Such miraculous discovery, if possible, could kill two birds with one stone. Hybrid cars are a venture in this direction. As it is not possible to build an automobile which could run solely on electric, solar or any other source of power immediately, as it would put tremendous strain on research, development and financial resources, the availability of hybrid cars is a welcome transitory stage into the future. After the successful launch of the Prius model by Toyota, many other automobile giants have leapt into the fray of manufacturing hybrid cars for the future. To be successful in the market, a hybrid car has to appeal to the general public in terms of cost of ownership as well as performance. 2. Key Problems To be successful in the market, a hybrid car has to appeal to the general public in terms of cost of ownership as well as performance. 2. Key Problems To be successful in the market, a hybrid car has to appeal to the general public in terms of cost of ownership as well as performance. As evident from previous research, only people with education and annual income in the range of $ 100,000 have bought hybrid vehicles available in the market at present, as they come at a premium. People with lower incomes and low education level have to contend with cheaper gasoline models as it is beyond their pocketbooks to buy hybrid cars, as well as fully comprehend the advantages of owning one. The key problems are therefore increasing the awareness about the benefits of a hybrid model, and putting a cheap hybrid model within their financial access and range. Rising fuel prices will automatically force people to seek cheaper alternatives and it is a good marketing strategy for the future to design a car to fulfill this need. 3. Possible Solutions Solutions to the problem are already in place as awareness about the greenhouse effect has been boosted by the efforts of governments and international bodies. It is also becoming more difficult day by day to own and maintain traditional gasoline guzzling giant cars. Smaller fuel efficient models are more marketable as well as affordable for the end users. However, government efforts to divert the public to use public transportation as an alternative have proved futile as people feel the need for independent control of their movement (Doll, 2008). Already the sales figures for hybrid models are increasing steadily in the US. In the year 2006, a total of 262,000 hybrid cars, primarily the Toyota Prius and other models from the company were sold nationwide (Doll, 2008). Companies like Honda, GM, Ford and Lexus soon came up with their own hybrid models in the market. Toyota, which overtook General Motors as the world’s largest automobile company however has experienced some hiccups since then. One problem it faced was the recall of some of its models due to faulty design and a patent lawsuit against its hybrid cars by a Florida based company, Paice LLC (Web, 2009). Such obstacles need to be sorted out between competing manufacturers in the greater interest of fuel efficiency and a healthy environment for the present and future generations. Innovations are already underway for developing fuel cells to power electric vehicles which cause the least pollution and are more energy ...
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