After 77 years of being the world's leading auto maker, General Motors sold fewer cars than Toyota this year. While this is certainly interesting news, I've been a little puzzled by the blogosphere's approach to the news. It seems as if this is, somehow, a green victory. It didn't really seem that way, so I decided to dive in and see what was what.
It turns out the Toyota has only the 10th most efficient fleet of all car brands with the average car sold getting 21 MPG. It's not surprising that Honda and MINI beat them, but Toyota was also outclassed by VW, Saturn, Pontiac and Chevrolet.
Most enlightening of these is Chevrolet, which has roughly the same line-up as Toyota in terms of number of vehicles and classes served. Toyota's lackluster 21 MPG fleet average is simply not impressive. One would think that the Prius would boost that number significantly, but with the Prius making up less than 1% of Toyota's sales, it simply doesn't help that much.
I'll celebrate high sales numbers for the Prius and other fuel efficient cars all day and night, but there simply isn't any reason to get excited about Toyota taking over as the world's leading auto maker when they are not the most fuel efficient brand. The only reason it's green news is because Toyota's halo continues to glow bright, even in the shadow of some of the least efficient monsters on the road.
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