Why are hybrid vehicles so scarce?
May 31, 2008 9:45 AM Subscribe
Why are hybrid vehicles so hard to find?
posted by middleclasstool to Shopping (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I are new car shopping and have set a limit of ~30mpg as the minimum for fuel efficiency. Thing is, it's hard to find a non-hybrid that gets that unless it's small, and we've got one baby with a rear-facing seat and another planned for next year, so we'd like some extra leg room to accommodate them.
Enter the Ford Escape Hybrid. 34/30 mpg, the only hybrid SUV that gets mileage that good and is decently priced, appears to have decent room, and could actually be used to haul some stuff from time to time, which is a plus. We love the idea, want to test drive one.
Except nobody has them. I've checked dealers in Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Tulsa, and even Dallas. No dealer websites show them in inventory. My wife called a local dealer to ask about this, and was informed that they couldn't even order one for us if we wanted. They are literally nearly impossible to find in the US. Some cursory Googling tells us that other hybrid vehicles ain't much better.
So here's the question: why? Especially in a market where US automakers are struggling, if there's demand that high for your product, why are you not making more of them? The economics of this evades me -- what does creating artificial scarcity do for them financially, when they could just flat-out sell more cars? Is it artificial scarcity, or are they just seeing a bigger run on their vehicles than they anticipated? If it's the latter, why not ramp up production pronto?