Academic journal article Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal

Analyzing the Potential Market for Hybrid Cars: A Survey of Car Dealers in Mauritius

Academic journal article Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal

Analyzing the Potential Market for Hybrid Cars: A Survey of Car Dealers in Mauritius

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nowadays the world depends heavily on transportation media and due to environmental changes that include among others global warming, the transport sector has had to be modified to keep up with the demand. The demand for today's vehicle is mostly low fuel consumption, low emission, recyclable, more secure, fewer mechanical problems, ease of driving with lots of electronics and peace of mind. Cars are now considered as a basic necessity and form part of our daily routine life. The car industry has evolved and due to fierce competition from players around the world, choosing the right car has become quite difficult (as mostly all manufacturers have strived to meet international standards and conformance).

Market analysts predict that hybrid vehicles will become the new trend in automobiles by replacing gasoline-powered vehicles in the near future (Hybridcars, 2006). In 2000, when the first hybrid car was mass produced for the Japanese and American market, nobody thought that it would gain so much popularity.

With the rise in price of the crude oil and due to its possible shortage in the next few decades, the hybrid technology has been adopted more rapidly in order to limit the disaster, considering the dependence on transport around the world. Pollution, global warming and C[O.sub.2] emission have become global concerns and if we do not react now, the future appears gloomy for mankind. Being a nascent industry, the hybrid car market has limited presence. However, the size of the market has been growing and manufacturers targeting this market are accelerating their development strategies. On the global level, the US dominates the hybrid sales followed by Japan and Europe, while Toyota and Honda lead the bandwagon of global carmakers (Wikipedia, 2011; Green Vehicles, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Currently, only few players are dominating the global hybrid industry but a number of large players are queuing up to enter the market.

The IBM Automotive 2020 Study polled some 125 automotive executives (IBM, 2008). Their final report via Green Car Congress concludes that "sustainability concerns" will rule the industry's future. In fact, by 2020, they figure all new cars will incorporate some form of hybridization. Respondents were less bullish on hydrogen, daunted by "the added challenge of building an entirely new infrastructure. The study also predicted the rise of the two-car consumer, driving "a primary vehicle that best meets their daily needs with the option to change to a different model, as needed." Worldwide demand for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) will advance rapidly from 1.6 million units in 2010 to 4.3 million units in 2015 and then to nearly double that number by 2020. These fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles are expected to quickly penetrate the world light vehicle market in response to rising energy demand (US Energy Information Administration, 2007). This has led to erratic fuel prices; and increased emissions regulations worldwide (OICA, 2008). Unfortunately, hybrid vehicles are considerably more expensive than their oil-burning counterparts.

With sales of 510,000 units in the world for 2007, the hybrid car is eating little by little in the big volume of passenger cars (Wikipedia, 2007). The US and Japan are the two biggest consumers of hybrid cars with Japan and the US attaining 1.5 % and 1.3 % of the market share respectively (Wikipedia, 2008). The European Union is at 0.2 % only but with new manufacturers entering the market, the world's largest producer of cars will certainly catch up on its predecessors.

The aims of this study carried out in Mauritius were to examine the extent to which hybrid cars have a potential market in Mauritius. The Mauritian government made the first step by lowering taxes on these types of vehicles. However, will the hybrid car best be adopted if Mauritians come to know more about the technology? …

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