General Motors Corp. President and CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. head of North American Automotive Operations Martin Inglis and DaimlerChrysler Corp. President James Holden appear in agreement about hybrid-powered vehicles: Their respective companies aren't planning on profits from their initial hybrid efforts.

Mr. Holden says that DC projections of a 100,000-unit build for its now-prototype hybrid Durango show the vehicle would have to sell at a price "penalty" of $1,500 to $3,000 - meaning the company would lose that much on each one it sold.

Ford's Mr. Inglis intimates that when it launches a hybrid-powered version of its new Escape SUV in 2003, Ford also will have to sell its hybrid SUV at a loss.

Mr. Wagoner, without mentioning how these cost concerns relate to GM's recently announced plan to sell hybrid-powered pickups in 2004, adds that the business case for hybrids "might be more compelling in other countries, particularly in Europe," where high fuel costs could inspire customers to pay a premium for hybrids.