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Sales of Hybrids in the US Up 24% in December; Up 22% in 2006 (corrected)

Sales of hybrids in the US closed out the year on a strong note. Click to enlarge.

Sales of hybrids in the US rose 24% in December 2006 compared to the prior year, with 22,625 units sold. That was sufficient to push the total number of hybrids sold in the US in 2006 past the quarter million mark to more than 251,000 units—an increase of 22% compared to 2005.

That figure does not include sales of GM’s Saturn VUE Green Line hybrid.

Hybrids increased their share of the new vehicle market to 1.5% in 2006. Click to enlarge.

Overall, the light duty vehicle market in the US shrank 3.6% in December 2006 from the year before, and declined 2.6% for the year to 16,556,433 units, according to Autodata. Hybrids thus represented 1.58% of the total light duty vehicle market in December, an increase from 1.2% in December 2005. For the year, hybrids represented 1.5% of the light duty vehicle market, up from 1.2% in 2005.

Toyota—which closed out the year as a member of the “Big Three”, having bumped DaimlerChrysler to fourth place—led with 9,291 units of the Prius sold in December, up 2.9% from December 2006. The Camry hybrid had a strong December showing of 4,005 units sold, representing 10.1% of all Camrys sold. And the Highlander Hybrid closed out the year with 2,354 units sold, up 7.1% from December 2005, and representing 20.1% of all Highlanders.

On the Lexus side of the house, the Rx 400h posted 1,981 units, down 8.8% from December 2005, and representing 15.5% of combined Rx 350/400 models sold. The luxury performance GS 450h posted 252 units, for 84.3% of combined GS 430/450h models sold. The 450h represented 11% of all GS models sold (300, 430 and 450h).

Overall, Toyota’s US hybrid sales captured more than 75% of the total hybrid market in 2006.

Ford, with a total sales drop of 12.8% in December 2006 compared to the same month in 2005, saw a 26.9% increase in its sales of the hybrid versions of the Escape and Mariner to 1,968 units representing 11.2% of the combined sales of both models.

Total sales of Ford’s trucks were down 14% in December, and total sales of cars were down 9.9%.

Honda’s Civic hybrid posted 2,408 units in December, down 4.7% from December 2005 and representing 12.0% of all Civics sold. The Honda Accord hybrid closed out the year with 363 units sold in December, down 49.6% from December 2005, and representing 1.6% of total Accord sales. Honda sold 3 units of the Insight.

Hybrid_sales_dec06_3 Hybrid_sales_dec06_4
Hybrid car sales. Hybrid SUV sales.
Hybrid sales as a component of total model sales.


Bike Commuter Dude

If we could sustain a 25% per year growth in hybrid utilization, it would not take long for 1.5% of total sales to turn into 15% of total sales!

If we could sustain a 25% per year growth in hybrid utilization, it would not take long for 1.5% of total sales to turn into 15% of total sales!

Yeah -- between 12 and 13 years.


Hence the point GM keeps making in pushing their simpler BAS hybrid system. It's modest 15% improvement could be implemented much more quickly across the entire line. A 15% improvement applied to 25% of the vehicles would be much better than a 50% improvement applied to 2% of vehicles.

Bud Johns

Angelo, agreed the BAS is a good thing, even though it is in reality only idle stop. Still, if all "normal" cars had this, it would be a massive improvement in city driving. Much quieter too.........


Let's assume it takes 10 years to impliment a new technology across the entire market, so in 10 years, all new cars could have the BAS technology, and at a 25% growth per year rate, 15% of all cars would be real Hybrids and get 50% better fuel mileage. That is a bright future. Now if these cars were PHEV's with an electric only range of 40 miles, we would have enough life boats to handle a cut-off of foreign oil from Islamic states. Let's roll.


Generally good news, I'd say! Does anyone know where to get worldwide sales data on hybrids, vs. US-only?

Also, regarding BAS, it is more than idle stop. It provides some boost and regen, as well as generate at a higher efficiency level than a standard alternator. And, it opens the door to 42V applications for higher power auxiliaries such as power steering, air conditioning, and water pumps, which will further increase efficiency. So, your point about its benefits applied to all vehicles is a good one and shouldn't be minimized. Three cheers for GM.


Are you sure about that number for the Honda Civic Hybrid? According to the press release, it was 2408 units sold in December. Source:


Mike - I think you are right on the Civic. That brings the total up to 22622, much closer to the reported 22625. Thanks.


... plus 3 Insights brings it up to 22625.


I have corrected the Civic Hybrid number in the article--the correct number is as stated above, 2,408. Add in the 3 Insights that I didn't put in the text, and the number matches.


I read in a tax incentive article, that there have been less than 1000 Saturn Vue Greenlines sold so far. The Aura will have BAS and maybe a Chevy Malibu will have it also. It seems pretty cost effective and can be used on many more cars sooner.


You're welcome.


Hence the point GM keeps making....
It's modest 15% improvement could be implemented much more quickly

So why has GM & GOP prevented any increase in CAFE in the last 20 years?
If CAFE had been raised 2% a year, it would be at 40 mpg today.
And perhaps GM & the rest of Detroit would not be in the deap sh$t they're in now!


CAFE is a political issue. Some think it works and some think it is interference. The fact the we really have none for SUVs is pretty bad. We could have and can save lots of fuel if we do.


any idea as to why GM is not releasing sales figures of the VUE? maybe because they're so low? just a guess.


also, i wonder why lexus still bothers with the GS430. if 80+% of higher-end GS sales are the hybrid, why even bother selling the "cheaper" gas-only model? this needs to happen. there needs to be a nudging of the market.


The VUE Greenline is not a significant number yet. The tax break on it was only something like $650, due to its "lightness" I would imagine.


BAS has potential if it can be rolled out as 'nearly standard' equipment on every vehicle like ABS and aribags are now, otherwise large numbers of people aren't going to adopt it because it's offerings seem limited compared to Toyota and Ford hybrids.


...they can regulate standard equipment for safety and emissions. Too bad they can't regulate standard equipment for fuel economy. A standard BAS on all vehicles would reduce emissions (in city traffic) for noise and air pollutants, slightly reduce fuel consumption, and provide a clear path for 42V system migration.

tom deplume

17% of all gasoline is burned in cars that are not moving. If Idle stop were in all cars we could cut oil imports in half.


If we made trucks and SUVs get 2 mpg more we could problably tell Saudi Arabia to keep the oil we buy from them. The oil we save is cheaper than the oil we drill.


How much federal tax credit applies to the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid as of May 30, 2007 and when does it begin to fade out?

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