Honda rolled out America's first hybrids a few years ago, but now they're scrambling to reclaim the roads after Toyota out-greened them with the enviro-hip Prius. What happened? Honda’s stylin’ was so “Civic” that nobody knew their drivers were commuting to save the world. If you can't show off your green creds, one analyst says, "the whole purchase is a waste of time."
Honda’s hybrids, outsold by the Prius 5 to 1, are about to boast a new line-up, with the Insight for more vocal greenies and a discreet Civic for low-key environmentalists. Toyota is firing back with a new Prius line in 2009. By 2011, Newsweek reports, green will be so cool that buyers will have 75 hybrids to choose from, and US sales of the cars will jump seven times to 1.7 million by 2015.