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Reported US Sales of Hybrids Up 27.3% In January 2008

Us_hybrid_sales_2008011
Total reported hybrid sales by month. Click to enlarge.

US sales of hybrids in January 2008 climbed 27.3% to 22,392 units, according to monthly sales reports from automakers. That number does not yet include hybrid sales figures from GM, who does not report them separately.

The reported sales of hybrids represented 2.14% of the more than 1.04 million new vehicles sold in the month. According to figures from Autodata, total new light-duty vehicle sales in January declined 4.2% year-on-year, with total passenger car sales declining 2.3% and total light truck sales dropping 6.1%.

Us_hybrid_sales_2008012
New vehicle market share of reported US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Toyota’s Prius posted best-ever January sales of 11,379 units, an increase of 37.1% over last January. Camry Hybrid reported sales of 3,750 units in January, up 33.9% over January 2007, representing 11.9% of all Camry models sold. Highlander Hybrid reported sales of 2,143 units for the month, an increase of 18.4% over the year-ago month, representing 17.4% of all Highlander models sold.

The Lexus RX 400h hybrid luxury utility vehicle reported sales of 1,211 units for the month, a 2.7% drop from the year before, representing 17.9% of combined RX 350/400h sales. The LS 600h L hybrid luxury sedan posted sales of 105 units for the month, representing 5.5% of combined LS 460/600h sales.  The GS 450h posted sales of 64 units, a decrease of 61.7% from the year before, representing 30.5% of combined GS 460/450h sales, and 4.3% of all GS model sales.

The Honda Civic Hybrid posted 1,745 units, a 2.1% decrease from January 2007, representing 8.2% of all Civics sold. The Accord Hybrid sold 48 units, a 80.6% decrease, representing 0.2% of all Accord models sold.

The Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner sold 1,474 units combined, a 19.1% increase, representing 10.9% of all Escape and Mariners sold.

The Nissan Altima sold 473 units in January 2008, representing 2.2% of all Altimas sold.

Hybrid Sales as a Percentage of Total Light Vehicle Sales, January 2008
CompanyTotal LDV SalesHybrid Sales% Hybrid Sales
Toyota 171,849 18,652 10.9%
Honda 98,511 1,793 1.8%
Ford 148,355 1,474 1.0%
Nissan 76,605 473 0.6%

Comments

sola

It is quite fascinating that the Prius is selling so well being a 4year old model. 37% sales increase is fabulous!!!

richard schumacher

Four years old but brand-new: it's still the best thing available.

Engineer-Poet

Amazing that the Civic hybrid is selling so poorly.  Maybe if Honda gave it some styling cues to set it apart, it might attract attention as an emblem of doing the right thing.

Mike

I'm wondering what's going to happen when the Prius catches up to when the logjam was released last year. When Camry hybrid production was moved, it freed up the production of the Prius and sales skyrocketed.

With that in mind, I'm wondering if we're going to see hybrid car sales sort of level off after the next couple of months.

Charles S

E-Poet:

I'm sure it's been mentioned before, but the biggest problem with Civic Hybrid is the placement of the batteries, between the trunk and the backseats. Because of this, rear seats cannot fold now. The Prius is both a hatchback and has rear folding-seats, which gives it a great advantage in cargo space.

THAT feature alone will draw more buyers than any styling changes Honda can make to the Civic Hybrid.

BlackSun

E-P,

I don't know if they ever fixed this, but a friend's Civic hybrid I rode in shut down the air-conditioning when the vehicle was stationary. It seems they rushed the car to market, without doing the necessary things like electrifying the HVAC system. It obviously still ran off an engine mounted condenser unit.

All it took was one trip to lunch with 4 people on a hot Los Angeles day to turn me off to the Civic hybrid forever. Of course I then went and bought my Prius and the rest is history.

BTW, 40,000 miles on the Prius, still love it.

gr

It's just amazing, four years ago you couldn't find a Prius, much less a hybrid even in far progressive communities like Santa Monica, CA. Today Prius is selling up 37% and a literal host of new hybrids coming to market.

With serial hybrids, garbage > syngas > ethanol under a $1.00, biofuels in the making and the growing awareness of the dangers of fossil fuels - it seems to me mighty good progress. I would love to be downbeat today but somehow just can't scrooge up the misery.

sjc

I looked online for dealers in the area that had Escape hybrids and there were none anywhere. However, I then did a search for the Mazda Tribute hybrid and found LOTS of them. It seems to be a matter of allocation and demand. Making people more aware of the tax advantages might help also.

q

Civic Hybrid makes absolutely no sense. According to

http://www.greenhybrid.com/compare/mileage/honda-civicii.html

it seems to average about 46 mpg and some can push it to as much as 60 mpg. My 10+ year old Civic CX gets about 45 mpg. Sure it is smaller and probably slower but perfect for my commute to work. So I have the option of spending $0 and getting a slightly lower efficiency or spending more than $30K (Canada) for a marginal improvement in efficiency?!?!? Meanwhile other Civic models start below $20K. Not sure how efficient are conventional Civic these days; they can't be very far from the hybrid version.

Prius is not much better, but is bigger, etc.

In any case so long as I can get cheap used old Civics for a fraction of the cost of a hybrid that doesn't *DOUBLE* efficiency of the older Civics I see no point in spending $30K or more. That means the next generation has to be plugin hybrid that gets 80 mpg! Then the value proposition becomes much better and it is easier to justify the price premium.

Engineer-Poet

Looks like the Civic Hybrid has had electric A/C since 2006, and the A/C shutdown required something called the "Econ button" to be pressed anyway (so your friend could have deactivated it).

The cargo thing is a big deal, though.  My Passat is far more useful due to its fold-down seats.

Bill Young

It is no wonder that GM doesn't report its numbers. I made a deposit in November for a Vue '08 hybrid. In the end of January the dealer could still not say when they would start production. We canceled the order and bought a Prius.

glenn

mike:
"I'm sure it's been mentioned before, but the biggest problem with Civic Hybrid is the placement of the batteries, between the trunk and the backseats. Because of this, rear seats cannot fold now. The Prius is both a hatchback and has rear folding-seats, which gives it a great advantage in cargo space.

THAT feature alone will draw more buyers than any styling changes Honda can make to the Civic Hybrid."


That's precisely why I didn't buy one.

sjc

GM has got to do a LOT better than BAS and hybrid Tahoe. A hybrid Malibu comes to mind and I mean a real hybrid, not the 2 MPG extra from the BAS. They lose credibility when they come out with something like that and call it a hybrid. Do they think that it will actually delay buying decisions? The sales figures for Prius show that it is not working.

Ford is suppose to come out this summer with a 2009 Fusion hybrid. Since this is just Mazda 6, Tribute, Escape technology, I do not know what took them so long. GM is just hoping that they can still get in the game. They said hybrids were just a fad 5-6 years ago, now I bet they wish that they had started sooner.

Engineer-Poet

If BushCo hadn't killed the PNGV in 2001, how well do you think those models would be selling today?

sjc

I think that the PNGV program should have ended up with production cars. Honda and Toyota were watching and did it. That shows me how important a change in administration can be. They might not have been diesel hybrids, they might have been gasoline hybrids and got 40 mpg instead of 70 mpg, but at least we would have them.

Looking back, maybe the U.S. automakers should have continued and they would be competing toe to toe with the Japanese in hybrids today. We will never know, because it did not happen. Instead the administration renamed the program Freedom Car and put the emphasis on hydrogen.

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