April Hybrid Sales in US More than Triple from Year Before, Almost Reach 21,000
Isuzu Introduces New Elf Diesel Hybrid Truck for Japanese Market

Sales of Full-Size SUVs in US Down 19% in First 4 Months of 2005

Sales of full-size SUVs in the US for the first four months of 2005 dropped 19% compared to the sales during the same period in 2004.

According to company reports, combined sales of full-size SUVs (models longer than 193 inches) dropped to 480,674 units during Jan-Apr 2005 from 593,035 units during the same period the year before. At the same time, overall light-duty vehicle sales in the US increased 1.2% to 5,384,275 for the period in 2005, up from 5,319,133 in 2004. Thus, the marketshare of full-size SUVs have dropped to 8.9% from 11.1% for those periods.

The company hit the hardest by this shift is GM, followed by Ford. Those two companies saw a combined drop in full-size SUV sales of almost 120,000.

Fullsizesuvsales1 Fullsizesuvsales2

The shift is certainly not uniform—both Chrysler and Nissan saw sales of their full-size models increase relatively strongly. But as you can see in the chart to the right (Click to enlarge), sales of models critical to GM and Ford plummeted.

GM held 56% of the market in full-size SUVs for the first four months of 2004, Ford 31%. Any further significant erosion in demand for the class will add to the financial woes of each (augmented by the fact that these have been the platforms with juicy margins in the past).

The US auto market isn’t “greening” overnight. Sales of light-duty trucks and SUVs still outpace cars. Despite the boom in hybrid sales (earlier post), combined hybrid sales through April of 54,103 is still only 11% of the full-size SUV sales for the same period.

But I think it’s safe to conclude that a shift is occuring. Automakers will now set out to capture those buyers who would have gone for a full-size SUV, want or need the size, but are looking for something a bit more fuel-efficient.

There are an increasing number of vehicles that meet that description: the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Lexus RX400h, the Jeep Liberty diesel, the coming Toyota Highlander hybrid. Expect to see a major push on diesel platforms over the next few years as a way of offering the heft and performance a large percentage of US drivers still want, but without the fuel burden of a gasoline platform.

(Chrysler is already looking to increase its Jeep diesel production, and BMW has announced that it will start offering diesels in the US in 2007, beginning with one of its SUVs.)

That said, these represent a relative improvement. The hybrid and diesels SUVs as currently designed are still large consumers of fuel—just better than their gasoline counterparts. There is still room for much more significant improvements...even in larger vehicles.



Due to the possibility of conflict between developments from within the Toyota organizations and ideas submitted by interested persons, it is our policy not to accept unsolicited suggestions for new products, inventions, patents, testimonials, proposals, marketing or advertising ideas.

That is their reply. This is what I sent them.

This is what we should be building right now. In my opinion Ford and GM will go bankrupt before they even begin to catch on.

For about the past year I have offered anyone who would listen the following info: None of the American automobile companies have even responded. I have had some positive response from several educational institutions but - as far as I know - none have done any experimental work to verify my claims.

Here is what I have been proposing:

Fuel cells or Hydrogen will never become a significant power source for automotive power. Anyone who has taken a careful look at it knows this.

If we could find someone in our auto industry with just a tiny bit of imagination, who knows what we could do? In one scale or another everyone of these systems have been proven.

Like to produce a vehicle that can burn rubber on takeoff on all four wheels and get 90+ mpg?

What I would like to see the automakers working on would have:

A turbocharged, two cylinder opposed, 2-cycle, air-cooled diesel directly
driving a generator. (It would not be running most of the time.) A 111 volt Lithium-Ion Polymer battery pack. Nothing but wires going from the
controller to every wheel, except for the necessary additional friction
brakes (of course). An added advantage of this would be the ability to recharge from the electrical grid while at home, saving even more on fuel.

Each wheel, depending on the feedback to the controller from wheel speed sensors would drive with just the right power depending on the accelerator position. You would get recharging from deceleration just as you do in today's hybrids. You would also use this feedback to stop the wheel from skidding.

Each wheel would have a stationary stator and a series of fixed magnets
closely adjacent all around the inside of the wheel. In a sense it would
operate each wheel in a very similar fashion that the mag-lev trains use,
except the motion would be circular, of course. Something very different
about this type of motor is that the stators are fixed to the axles and the
magnets are driven around them. This gives a significant increase in
mechanical advantage. That's like turning an ordinary electric motor inside out.

There would be no need for ordinary electric motor brushes. In fact, many electric motors operating today are brushless.

Such motors already exist in the model airplane field and their efficiently
is amazing - approaching 90%. I've got a couple and doubt that I would ever buy any other type.

It's possible to hang the model on the prop right out in front of you and
accelerate straight up, like a rocket, with this type motor

In the vehicle the motor/generator would not turn on to recharge the
batteries until they needed it. There are already experimental Lithium-Ion
driven cars that can get in excess of 200 miles before they have to be
recharged by plugging them in. You would top off your batteries overnight by plugging them in. Some cutting edge research by Toshiba - employing nano-technology - indicates that recharging can be done so fast that you could top off while eating lunch.

Lithium -Ion battery technology is so new that I doubt that very many
automotive engineers have even heard of them, much less thought to use them in this manner. Their energy density exceeds that of any other form of rechargeable energy storage.

The Lithium Ion battery is the most efficient battery available right now. So is the outer rotor electric motor the most efficient motor.

Build an Automobile right and it will weight less and have simpler, easier to repair/replace modules.

Lets see what we can eliminate while improving performance and efficiency.

Transmission - None

Ignition system - None

Liquid cooling - None

Valves and valve train - None

Use bio-oil/fuels for both fuel and lubrication.

Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know in the Transportation business. I suffer from no delusion that any of them have the imagination to be able to see how something like this could jump them ahead of the competition.

I bought a Honda Civic Hybrid last summer. I enjoy it more than any vehicle I've ever owned. I will Never buy another vehicle that isn't a Hybrid and doesn't get at least 50 mpg.

As far as I can tell, Detroit isn't even thinking the same way I and the vast majority of it's potential customers are.

William Lucas Jones
490 Mauldin Rd.
Sautee, GA 30571-3159

(706) 219-3333

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