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Hybrid Sales Increase in June from May; Highlander Off to Strong Start


Assisted by the first sales of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, June posted the second-highest levels of hybrid sales yet, with 19,223 units sold. This is behind only April 2005, with its 20,974 units.

For the first six months of 2005, hybrid sales rose to 92,558, some 2.5 times the 36,276 sold during the first six months of 2004.

The Highlander Hybrid sprang to second place among all hybrids sold, with 2,869 units posted during its first month. Toyota’s Prius continued its market-leading sales trajectory, with 9,622 cars sold. The Lexus RX400h hybrid came in with 2,605 units sold.

Combined, Toyota’s hybrids accounted for 79% of the hybrids sold in June, with the Prius alone accounting for 50% of that.

Hybridsalesjune051 Hybridsalesjun052_1

The other sellers of hybrids did not fare as spectacularly.

Honda sold 1,852 Civic Hybrids—down slightly form the prior month, and on a day-sales rate basis, lower than in June 2004. (The auto industry generally uses the day-sales rate to normalize comparisons between months in different years that end up having a different number on selling days. The DSR is simply the result of dividing the number of units sold by the number of selling days in the month.)

Sales of the Honda Accord hybrid also slowed somewhat from the past few months, posting 1,080 units. The super-fuel-frugal Insight posted 69 sales.

Ford sold 1,126 units of the Escape hybrid in June—a performance in its mid-range since launch last fall.



It will be interesting to see what Honda does with the redesigned Civic. They've said they want to beat the Prius mpg, and I bet they can ...

If you are listening Honda, I am happy with my S2000 and looked at the Civic Hybrid. The deal-killer for me was that I really need the fold-down rear seat for my bike. So now I have a Prius utility car and an S2000 garage queen.

I really liked the Insight as well ... but maybe like a lot of people I couldn't quite see it working as the utility car.

Mikhail Capone

I would certainly like to see Honda beat the Prius with their redesigned Civic hybrid. That would give Toyota some competition and prove that Honda's assist hybrid is not as inferior to the full hybrid design of Toyota (because right now, a civic is lighter than a Prius yet gets worse mileage and is ULEV vs. the Prius' AT-PZEV).

If they keep the assist design, their solutions are probably: 1) bigger electric motor 2) better batteries that can hold more power without adding too much weight 3) add a second motor that can charge the batteries even while the assist motor is operating.


Honda's best option is probably to add a clutch between the engine and the motor, allowing the engine to be shut down completely for operation on batteries alone; this would require a more powerful motor and bigger battery, which would also make the car zippier (modern motors have more HP/lb than auto engines).  Electric A/C and a coolant circulation pump for cabin heat would make this a complete solution.

If Honda did something like this with a turbodiesel powerplant such as the 1.3l used in the VW Lupo, they'd have a Prius-killer on their hands.  With a plug-in option it could run on solar PV, wind and biodiesel, and every eco-geek and energy-freedom neocon would want one.

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