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Sales of Hybrids in US Hit New Peak in May

1 June 2006

Click to enlarge.

Combined sales of hybrids in the US in May reached a new peak of 23,554 units—1.1% higher than the previous record of 23,307 in August 2005. The sales volume was buoyed considerably by the first full-month sales of the new Camry hybrid, which posted more than 3,000 units.

Combined sales of hybrids were up 39% in May from May 2005, and up 9% from April 2006. By contrast, total light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales in the US dropped 0.7% in May 2006 from the prior year. Hybrids represented 1.6% of total LDV sales in May 2006.

Toyota maintained its strong leadership with Prius sales of 8,103 exceeding supply. The new Camry hybrid posted 3,032 units, representing 7% of all Camrys sold in the month. The Highlander hybrid SUV turned in another very strong month, with 3,755 units (34.7% of total Highlander sales).

Click to enlarge.

The Lexus Rx 400h posted 2,006 units, or 21.5% of combined Rx 330/400h sales. The new luxury Lexus GS 450h turned in an incredibly strong performance, posting 294 units of the 516 combined GS 430/450h units sold—57% of the models’ sales.

Ford’s Escape and Mariner sales, while not as high as in April, came in at 2,862 units, representing 15% of the models’ sales. This is an increase in sales of 132% from May 2005.

Honda’s Civic Hybrid also posted strong May-to-May results with 2,890 units sold, an increase of 53% from the prior year and representing 10% of total Civic sales. The Accord hybrid turned in 520 units—1.4% of total Accord sales in May, and down 60% from May 2005. The Insight posted 92 units.

Hybrid_sales_may06_04_1 Hybrid_sales_may06_03
Hybrid car sales. Hybrid SUV sales.
Hybrid sales as a component of total model sales.

June 1, 2006 in Hybrids, Sales | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (1)


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With so many vehicles, any chance you could do a double stack -- that is, generate two more charts: one with just "cars" stacked, and the other with SUVs (and pickups, when they start being produced) stacked.

It would help me separate some different factors on the trends in my own mind, anyway.

Throw in charts for diesel and flex fuel vehicles for good measure.

^ er, methinks you are pushing your luck Mr. Zheng... ;)

Impressive introductory #s on the Lexus GS 450h, too bad it's rated only 26mpg (too much HP, not enough efficiency) although it would be a sig. improvement v. the wife's SUV..

Speaking of charts, numbers and statistics. I hopped over to to see if I could quickly find what people wanted to know and found out who is using all the gas:

In 2001 women drove an average of 38 miles per day while men drove an average of 21 miles per day.

The women are using too much gas causing gas price spikes, global warming, etc, etc...they must be financially backed by the oil companies (paid to drive nearly twice as far as men).

Oh that you would have the charting difficulty of showing for each model the conventional, the hybrid, and the plug-in hybrid sales for each.

Maybe for Christmas?

re: graphs, suv and car breakouts as requested. It is getting a little crowded on those charts, and any other suggestions on formats, etc to make these more useful are very welcome.
re: diesel, I'm working on getting the data.


I wouldn't want to be involved in investing with the quoted venture capitalist.

KHOSLA is certainly an intelligent man, but as for the USA being dependent on ethanol only...HOW? Given the energy content of corn or switchgrass, please explain.

Bio-Algae may prove more feasible.

Anyways, it seems to me that auto companies should all offer a low end hybrid (ie. civic, prius). The Accord hybrid is a good example of a company not in touch with demand (it should have been a 4 cylinder).

That piece was pretty fluffy, Snoose. Khosla's credentials are unquestionable in the entrepeneurial arena, but he got that way by being savvy. Playing up any of the many weaknesses that ethanol production suffers from right now would be totally contradictory to his ends, which is to promote his product.

There's purpose in ethanol, but the degree to which he's talking about is just unreal.

@fyi c02 I dissagree with you about that I think the 450h has a perfect balance. Now I'm going to explain why I'm not crazy. 1: people who are used to the 430 (cheaper by 3k base) are not going to accept a downgrade in response (not performance, most luxury drivers don't want fast they want "overtaking power" and smooth acceleration they aren't racing they are manipulating traffic) just because its good for the environment. 2: performance configurations are the best way to test any technolodgy! This can only be good for the technolodgy because they will want to maintain its current performance with the next evolution and push further with the savings. I honestly think we'll see Toyota making huge innovations through the Lexus brand. I'd be willing to bet that each generation will make more use of the electric system and less of the gas as battery tech gets better.

Mike, how about a percentage of GS450h from not just the GS400-series, but from all GS models sold in the past month?
Cool thanks.

I would bet the significant usage of ethanol would be closer to the 20 year than the 5 year number. We can provide about 2.5% of our fuel needs now with ethanol, a 40 fold increase would take time, even with cellulose ethanol.

Thanks for the two charts. They support a question I've been wondering about for months.

The car segment seems to have flatlined (approximately), whereas the SUV segment seems to be showing major growth.

The question I have is: are the hybrid SUVs resulting in an aggregate improvement of MPG or an aggregate reduction? That is, are people buying hybrid SUVs instead of regular SUVs, or are they buying hybrid SUVs instead of sedans or hybrid cars? Some of both, but where is the most action happening?

GS 300 = 1,940
GS 430 = 222
GS 450h = 294

GS 450h% of all GS = 12%

Regarding the 450hp "perfect balance".

It seems to me that a government ban on anything more than 200hp would easily solve this "perfect balance" puzzle.

People who "can afford" to spoil the fresh air of other people in order to be able to "manipulate the traffic" are unfortunately the ones who "push the economy forward" so any government to take such a decision would be extremely short lived.

The trouble is the burden of the cost of global warming is carried mainly by the people who cannot even afford a car (see New Orleans after Katrina).

Great charts! Thanks.

Toyota clearly has a lead in hybrid technology. When will GM's first hybrid (Saturn) go on sale?

I wonder why hybrid SUV sales dropped this month (from last month). While hybrid car sales have increased month to month since February and SUV sales have followed the same trend, it seems strange to see that hybrid SUV drop this month.

It may be that alot of those consumers who may have been interested in a hybrid went for the Toyota Camry (the new thing) instead giving cars a boost, while decreasing hybrid SUV sales?

Also, I'm surprised you didn't note Toyota passing the 60,000 mark in hybrids sold this year and how that affects the federal tax credit phase out.

That means the fed tax credit for Toyota will phase out Aug. 31 (end Q3)- although there has been some lip service to a credit extension in Washington, right?
But that may have been squelched now that the house last week voted for that whopping 2% oil endowment in 10 years by drilling in our ANWR.

Yeh, you're right CO2. Drill in ANWR. Problem solved. Just don't drive for ten years while we're waiting.

End of Q3 is Sept. 30, 2006, which is the end of the full credit for the Toyota/Lexus/Scion hybrids. next 2 quarters is 50% of full credit, then 2 quarters of 25% credit. Sales on or after Oct. 1, 2007 have no credit.

Ford and Honda haven't hit their 60,000 models yet, so their full credit period will go on a bit longer...

I actually think the SUV And luxury car segment are where we are going to see the big growth. If you look at new car technologies they are always expensive at first. And the people willing to pay more are the luxury car buyers.. for things like added performance.

Since hybrids can be made for increased performance instead of so much efficiency gain.. I think it is the direction we will see hybrids go for a time, spurred by this lexus flagship hybrid sedan. The same with SUV's where performance is a big issue, because of the weight of the vehicle.


I just found these two archived market forecast analysis:

0.5% in 2004, 3.5% in 2012 (jetzt ist 2006, und 10% sind in den USA immer noch drinnen)

Oder hier:

4-7% in 2008, 10-15% in 2012

Running the numbers against 2,3 Mio new car sales annually, and an average of 18000 Hybrid cars sales per month (=216000 Hybrids/year) for the last 12-13 months, it looks like the 10% market share might be shattered already in the CY2006 (Model year 2007), and not only in 2012-2020!

Good work!

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