An analysis of the theory of innovation and the history of the auto market conducted by Christopher Giliberti, suggests that the hype about hybrids is justified, with hybrids expected to account for 17 percent share of total vehicle sales as early as 2010, strategy+business reports.
Some commentators say hybrid sales may fall if fuel prices drop and cite the fate of small, fuel-efficient cars in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But Giliberti says the case is different this time and that hybrids are here to say.
He says that the market-share increases of hybrids were closely following the S-curve path even before the recent spike in fuel prices. This suggests that the adoption of hybrids is not closely tied to gasoline prices. The S-curve is a mathematical model used to estimate the growth of market share for an innovation in an existing market.
In addition, Giliberti says the suggestion that the fate of hybrids will be similar to the fate of small cars during the last fuel crisis during the 1970s and early 1980s is flawed. He says mini-compacts that were popular during the last oil crisis never really caught on, and that their market share declined even as fuel prices increased.
Giliberti points out that what really became wildly popular were compact cars, which has held the single greatest market share of any segment almost every year since 1980.