Toyota is all set to start producing Camry Hybrids at their Georgetown, Kentucky plant. They've announced that they will initially be producing Camry Hybrids at a rate of 60,000 per year - a pretty respectable number. To put it in perspective, 60,000 vehicles is equivalent to about 14% of model year (MY) 2005 Camry sales in the United States, and is greater than the MY2005 sales of such popular models as the Toyota Avalon, Honda Element, and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It's a good start.
Nissan is also about to start producing their Altima Hybrids in Smyrna, TN. They have their sights set squarely on the Camry Hybrid as they are both mid-sized family cars with similar fuel economy (Nissan is using an older generation Toyota hybrid synergy drive, the one in the current Prius). However, Nissan is thinking smaller and targeting only California and seven other states with California’s emission standards: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This shows the success of California’s strong public health regulations and how they can push technology along, but it also shows the difference between a company betting on hybrids as their future (Toyota) and one that, so far, is using on hybrids to just help meet regulations (Nissan).
Posted by: Don