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GM Says Lower Gas Price May Curb Demand for Hybrids

October 6, 2003

General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, said lower gasoline prices in the United States may curb demand for hybrid vehicles there as the company prepares to produce as many as 1 million of the gas-electriccars by 2007, according to Bloomberg News."The likelihood of us selling 1 million units by 2007 is very low because fuel prices are relatively low," Larry Burns, vice president of research, development and planning at General Motors, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "We want to make sure the market has the choice, though."The average price for regular-grade gasoline fell to its lowest in seven weeks on Sept. 29, Bloomberg News said.Detroit-based General Motors plans to start selling full-sized pickups with hybrid engines such as the Chevrolet Silverado this year. The foray by General Motors into the hybrid market comes six years after Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. released its Prius hybrid.General Motors' focus is on the development of fuel-cell vehicles, targeting sales of 1 millionunits in the next decade, according to Bloomberg News. It sees hybrid vehicles, which combine gas engines with an electric motor and reduce fuel use, as a stop-gap before fuel- cell vehicles become commercially viable, Bloomberg News said.
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