Toyota Winning the Hybrid Race

A first-mover advantage -- and some slick ads -- allowed Toyota (TM) to take the lead in the production of hybrid cars when it launched the Prius in Japan back in 1997. So did a slow response from rivals to understand the potential of gas-electric vehicles. No more. General Motors (GM) will launch its first hybrid later this year, while Ford (F) will have four hybrids on sale by 2008.

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