Jim Press, once head of Toyota Motor Sales in the U.S. and now president of Toyota North America (the first non-Japanese to do so), is confident of his employer.
Press compared the Prius to the old Ford Model T. He explained that the Model T was the forerunner of the modern automobile. Now the Toyota Prius is the forerunner of what the automobile has become. As gas prices continue to rise, the popularity of the gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles will also rise until they ultimately dominate the U.S. roads. "Eventually, everything will be a hybrid," he said in the Chicago Tribune.
Toyota expects that at least 175,000 Prius hybrids will be sold in North America this year, 109,000 more than was sold last year.
Our take? We think there’s a bit of hubris in Press’ statement. We don’t foresee the extinction of the gasoline engine is most of our lifetime and, in fact, predict that diesel may give it a run for the money.