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US Tax Credit Scheme Could Help Toyota And Honda

Two of Japan's largest auto makers could benefit greatly from proposed fuel efficiency measures...

Toyota and Honda gasoline-electric hybrid cars may benefit from the proposed US tax credits, as the largest Japanese automakers plan to increase sales of their fuel-saving vehicles.
Buyers of the $20,450 ( in the US) Toyota Prius sedan would get a $2,750 income-tax credit under a US Senate bill, company spokeswoman Martha Voss said. Honda's $20,000 Insight hatchback and a hybrid model of its Civic car, which debuts in April at a similar price, may get credits of $1,500 to $2,000, said spokesman Ed Cohen.
The Insight and Prius are now the only hybrid vehicles sold in the US and have the nation's highest fuel-economy ratings. A bill introduced by Senate Democrats seeks tax incentives to encourage sales of more fuel-efficient cars, and President George W. Bush this week called for similar tax credits.
?Federal tax incentives will probably do the same thing that happened for solar panels in the 1970s: Sales will improve somewhat, but the penetration will be minor,? said Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing/Research in Bandon, Oregon, which tracks leasing and pricing data for analysts and automakers.