Futurists forecast rapidly growing competition in the hybrid marketplace

June 11, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
By 2006, more than 250,000 U.S. drivers had bought Toyota hybrids to reduce oil dependence and help the environment. Globally, Toyota has sold more than 500,000 hybrids to date, helping the company surpass General Motors in sales during the first quarter of 2007. In the July-August issue of THE FUTURIST magazine, on newsstands now, business futurists Norma Carr-Ruffino and John Acheson consider if a trade war is on the horizon.

"Both U.S. and Japanese automakers directly impact the two largest economies in the world—the United States and Japan. Every car or truck sold goes straight to the bottom line. Every slow-selling vehicle is a casualty in a long-unfolding battle, as plants are shuttered and model lines replaced. Fast-selling alternatives and hybrids promise market share, new jobs, and a new future," they write in a special report, "The Hybrid Phenomenon."

Carr-Ruffino and Acheson are joined by GM Vice President of environment and energy Elizabeth Lowery, who lays out her company's strategy for beating out the competition and modernizing the GM fleet. "Today, we are embracing multiple energy sources because there is no single answer available for the mass market…. In 2007, GM will debut four hybrid models—with many more in the years to follow," she writes.

Scott Nathanson, field organizer for the Union of Concerned Scientists' vehicles program, offers a slightly different point of view. "Hybrid buyers expect more miles per gallon out of their vehicles, not just more miles per hour. Unfortunately, those [companies] trying to catch up in the hybrid game seem reluctant to learn this lesson," he writes.

Pick up the July-August issue of THE FUTURIST for $4.95 at bookstores and newsstands, or write the World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814. You can also order online or purchase a PDF of "The Hybrid Phenomenon" from the FUTURIST's Web site,


THE FUTURIST is a bimonthly magazine focused on innovation, creative thinking, and emerging social, economic, environmental, and technological trends.

Among the thinkers and experts who have contributed to THE FUTURIST in the past year are: MIT architecture scholar William G. Mitchell and Joel Garreau on urban planning; Ray Kurzweil, John Smart, and J. Storrs Hall on the Singularity; Daniel Barnett of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on flu pandemic; Andrew Bacevich and Center for Strategic International Studies senior fellow Edward N. Luttwak on U.S. defense posture; Pulitzer Prize nominee James Martin on the existential challenges of the twenty-first century; NRDC vehicles campaign director Deron Lovaas and Wesleyan economist Gary Yohe on energy independence; New Atlantis editor Christine Rosen and New York Times Company futurist-in-residence Michael Rogers on media futures; and U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker on U.S. fiscal policy, among many, many others.

Editors: To request a review copy of THE FUTURIST magazine, contact director of communications Patrick Tucker 301-656-8274 ext. 116, ptucker@wfs.org. More information about the World Future Society can also be obtained from the Society’s Web site, www.wfs.org