Having written about hybrid cars a few times in the past year, I can tell you that they have a lot of passionate fans and detractors alike. I like the technology, but like all technologies, I expect it'll get more efficient, more powerful, and less expensive over time. There will probably be a few technological bumps along the road as well. The recall -- sorry, "Special Service Campaign" -- Toyota
Toyota's recalling the Prius to fix a software bug in its electronic control module that causes the car's gasoline motor to stall. The car's electrical motor, steering, and brakes remain operational, so drivers can hopefully navigate their way to the shoulder of the road and turn the car off and on again. Toyota's fix sounds to me like the equivalent of updating a computer's firmware and rebooting it.
For investors, the recall really isn't a big deal. Worldwide, it only affects 160,000 vehicles manufactured from mid-2004 through early 2005. Hybrid sales at Toyota, Honda
Having researched cars as a consumer, it's clear that Toyota is the current king of hybrid makers, with the most efficient and usable design. Honda is a close second in sales with its hybrid Civics and Accords. The new Civic, in particular, appears to have narrowed the performance gap with Toyota's Prius. Given the strong sales trends, lack of incentives, and more efficient manufacturing, it's pretty much a slam dunk that Toyota and Honda will continue to grow and expand their share at the expense of General Motors
Further hybrid Foolishness: