What kind of hybrid car do you want to buy?
Poll the automakers about what kind of hybrids they think will sell, and one answer comes back.
The sweet spot for hybrids, as their model lineups show, is mid-size sedans--both mainstream and now increasingly luxury makes.
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid drive event, NYC area, April 2013
Consider the lineup of available hybrid sedans for sale in the U.S. during the 2013 and 2014 model years:
- BMW ActiveHybrid 5
- Ford Fusion Hybrid (and Energi plug-in hybrid)
- Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- Kia Optima Hybrid
- Lexus ES 300h
- Lexus GS 450h
- Toyota Camry Hybrid
There's also the Toyota Prius liftback, the original model in the current lineup of four different Prius models.
While it's a five-door hatchback, it has roughly the same interior volume as the four-door sedans in the list--albeit arranged differently.
And it's the sole mid-size hybrid hatchback; the Prius C is a subcompact, and the Lexus CT 200h is a compact.
2013 Toyota Prius liftback
The importance of the mid-size sector for hybrids was highlighted by Edmunds senior editor, quoted recently in The Detroit News.
The Detroit newspaper noted that a recently opened second assembly plant could let the Ford Fusion reach a new sales level.
The number might possibly be as many as 300,000 vehicles a year--putting it the Fusion into direct competition with the highest sellers in the segment, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
O'Dell called the Fusion Hybrid model "the go-to choice for the person...focused on fuel economy," saying that "mid-size cars are where...hybrid volume will come from."
If, he added, the mid-size hybrids are properly priced.
What's the next big segment that hybrids should spread into?
Leave us your thought in the Comments below.