Top Three Green Cars to Watch in 2010

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Analysts agree that so-called "green," fuel-efficient cars -- which fall under different classifications, such as hybrid, electric and electric-hybrid -- aren't expected to generate copious financial rewards for their respective automakers anytime soon.

"At this point, 'green' vehicles are much more sizzle than steak in my opinion," Craig-Hallum analyst Steven Dyer says. "They generally can't be made profitably until we ramp to much higher volumes, which I just don't see in a country of $2.50 to $3 a gallon gasoline." It's no surprise, then, that analysts have found it difficult to get sales volume estimates out of automakers these days "as they don't want to be held to those numbers," analyst Michelle Krebs said.

Still, the impending launches of green cars like the Volt, Leaf and Karma have created quite a stir.

As UBS analyst Colin Langan points out, the Leaf and Volt, for example, are considered to be among the six most important vehicle launches of this year; all the money automakers have been pouring into these "green cars" may not reap immediate financial rewards, but that's a small price to pay for the dividends they could reap in the form of public perception.

"It is very important for companies to be seen as green and high tech," Krebs said. "New fuel economy and emission standards go into effect in the U.S. in 2016 which they must meet." She added that fuel economy is now "a hot button with consumers," and is unlikely to go away any time soon.

Read on for more about the most eagerly anticipated "green" cars of the year....

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