Hybrids in the US posted their second strongest sales month of 2004 with 7,227 units, just shy of May’s record of 7,275. That total, however, is a bit deceptive.
Toyota’s Prius was the star in July, racking up a record 5,230 units. That represents an increase of 24% from the prior month, and a whopping 666.6% from the 657 units sold in July 2003.
Sales of the Honda Civic hybrid remain lower and somewhat flat, while the Insight is in decline. June 04 to July 04, total Honda hybrid sales increased only 7% from 1,863 to 1,997.
I expect that will not change for Honda until the hybrid Accord arrives this fall.
The July results reinforce Toyota’s dominance of the “hybrid” category— as broad as that definition might be. With new hybrid models arriving this fall it will be interesting to see if Toyota maintains its sales leadership and its thought leadership. Despite the incredible success of the Prius, it is still early in the development of this market. Yet manufacturers wanting to catch up must be much more aggressive (in a positive way) and focused in development, manufacturing and marketing than they appear to be to date.