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US Sales of Hybrids Dip in November

Sales of hybrids in the US declined in November to 15,942 units—the third lowest monthly results of the year—but were up 85% from the year before, reflecting the availability of more models and increased demand.

Total light-duty vehicle sales in November dropped 6.7% from the year before, from 1,198,673 units to 1,164,975. Hybrids thus represented 1.4% of the total light-duty vehicle market in November.

Sales of the Prius dropped below 8,000 for the first time in eight months, with the car selling 7,889 units. The Highlander Hybrid was a steady performer with 2,353 units sold, followed by the Rx 400h with 1,722. Toyota thus captured 75% of the hybrid market.

The availability of the new Honda Civic hybrid pushed sales of that model up to 2,083. Sales of the Accord hybrid dropped below 1,000 to 887. The Insight continued its low, but steady, sales pattern, turning in 60 units.

At 998 units, sales of the Ford Escape hybrid were the lowest since January, but were up 11% from the year before.

Hybrid_sales_nov05_1 Hybrid_sales_nov05_2

Hybrids as % of Total Vehicles Sold
AutomakerSEP 05OCT 05 NOV 05
Toyota 7.3 8.2 7.1
Honda 3.6 4.0 2.8
Ford 0.8 0.6 0.5

The percentage of hybrids sold relative to all light-duty vehicles for each of the three hybrid automakers—Toyota, Honda and Ford—has declined since the September levels.

Hybrids as % of Total Model Sales
Automaker and ModelSEP 05OCT 05 NOV 05
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 28.0 25.7 24.3
Lexus Rx 400h 25.7 23.8 21.0
Honda Civic Hybrid 6.4 3.6 8.8
Honda Accord Hybrid 6.9 4.7 3.6
Ford Escape Hybrid 15.0 12.3 9.5

The on-going success of the Prius puts the car in a class by itself. For those brands that offer a mix of conventional and hybrid powertrains, the percentage of sales represented by the hybrid version also dropped in November, with one major exception: the Honda Civic Hybrid, which increased its share against its non-hybrid cousins.



The price of gasoline has fallen, and so has the sales of hybrids. Color me shocked, shocked!

But, the good news for hybrid sales is that gas prices are expected to climb at least $.25 in the next few months. That should spur on some hybrid sales...


Honestly, I am glad the hybrid sales would jump but not at the my expense of gas purchase.

Lance Funston

How does this track against other automotive promotions? In other word, year-end sales events where automakers put bigger discounts on larger vehicles.

I'm surpised the hybrid tax break isn't helping drive the sales towards the end of the year, but I guess they are carrying it over.


I would expect a dip since the new federal credits go into effect for sales on or after 1 Jan 2005. You'd be crazy to buy a 2005 in November and forego the big credits avaiable in 2005.


I meant the big credits available in 2006,not 2005.


That's true Tom, and with the Accord Hybrid a lot of people aren't going to want to buy the "old model" '05 when the "new model" '06 Accords are already out.


Mike, your civic sales are entered as 0 for the month of october, so it messed up the graphs a bit.


It looks wrong, but it's actually not. The figure for Civic sales in October is 231-- down 90% from the year before. With the graph scales and perspective it does look like zero. But I checked the spreadsheets just to be sure...


wow that's amazing. sorry for the false alert.


I believe the dip in sales this month is caused by the tax credit.

I am surprised so many were sold when if you wait a month you can save yourself a couple grand. Just wait till Feb. There should be a ton of hybrids sold.

Does anyone know what honda is predicting for sales of the civic. Are they producing enough to compete with the Prius.


Look at Nov 04. The same thing happend. Sales always dip in november VS oct industry wide. Its just not a traditional car buying month. If you wanted to make the graphics more relavant, compare sales year to year for the same month. This is how all manufacturers gauge sales.

I think Feb of 06 will be a big month when the Camry hybrid hits the road.

From Toyota press release about 07 Camry:
"The Hybrid teams a special 2.4-liter 4-cyl gas engine with a battery-powered electric motor for 192 net hp. It teams with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) providing near-infinite drive ratios. Like Toyota's smaller Prius hybrid, Camry's automatically drives on either or both power sources, depending on conditions, and requires no plug-in charging. Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes are standard for all models. So are front torso side airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, and, for the first time, a driver's knee airbag."


That and people are also likely to wait for the next gen hybrids that will be better. We have been hearing nifty news on next gen cars and alot of like minded people think.. oks might as well wait and see.

Robert Schwartz

The 2006 civic, which debuted in late September, was a dramatic change from the 2005 (very sexy IMHO). I don't think dealers had a large inventory in October.

R Pinto

All markets have sazonability, so to have an accurate overview of the sales performance the comparison must be done with the same month from the passed years. to compare the overall market performance the best way is by the acomulated results again with last years and same periods.


The Prius sales figures have been dropping since April and the overall numbers of hybrids sold have been tanking since August. The loss of 30% of hybrid sales has to be a bit of a concern, especially since it has happened in just 3 months. Gas is cheap again, and people aren't buying hybrids like they did when it was a bit more of an irritant to pay $3 a gallon for gas. The current hybrids are overly complex, too expensive, both short and long term, we need a better hybrid and they aren't building them yet.

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