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US Sales of Hybrids Up 12% in July; Total New Light-Duty Vehicle Sales Down 12%

Hybrid_sales_jul07
Monthly US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

While overall light-duty vehicle sales in the US fell about 12% in July 2007 from July 2006, sales of hybrids increased by about 12% for the same period, according to July sales reports from Toyota, Honda, Ford and Nissan. GM does not break out its hybrid sales. The month’s results also saw the combined US market share of GM, Chrysler and Ford drop below 50% for the first time.

Reported hybrid sales increased to 28,585 units in July 2007, up from 25,626 in July 2006. Hybrids represented 2.2% of the new vehicle sales for the current month.

Hybrid_sales2_jul07
Hybrid share of new vehicle sales. Click to enlarge.

Toyota continued to lead, with the Prius posting its own July record of 16,062 units, an increase of 44.5% from July 2006. (Comparisons are based on total sales volume, not day sales rate.) Camry Hybrid turned in 4,329 units, a drop of 13.8% from July 2006, and representing 10.4% of all Camry models sold. Highlander Hybrid sold 1,205 units, a 56.7% drop from July 2007, and representing 13.6% of all Highlander sales.

The Lexus Rx 400h posted 1,385 units, a 13.5% increase from 2006, and representing 16.5% of all Rx 350/400h models sold. The GS 450h posted 142 units, a 9.6% decrease from July 2006, but representing 91% of all GS 430/450h models. The GS 450h accounted for 7.3% of all GS models, including the GS 350.

Hybrid_sales3_jul07
Hybrids as a component of brand sales. Click to enlarge.

Nissan broke the four-figure mark for the first time with its limited sales of the Nissan Altima Hybrid. The monthly total of 1,131 does not include the 500 units that Avis announced it will purchase. The July results represented 4.6% of all Altima models sold.

Nissan was also the only one of the top six automakers in the US to post an overall sales increase in July.

Honda sold 2,493 units of the Civic Hybrid, a decrease of 6.7% from July 2006, representing 9.0% of all Civics sold. The Accord Hybrid came in with 260 units, a 48.4% drop from July 2006, and representing 0.7% of all Accord models sold.

Combined sales of Ford’s Escape and Mariner hybrids dropped 23.4% to 1,578 units, representing 10.5% of total combined Escape and Mariner sales. Overall, sales for the redesigned 2008 Escape and Mariner vehicles were up 2% compared to last year. While Ford’s total sales dropped 19%, sales of crossover utility vehicles were up 40%.

Comments

Travis Rassat

This might be a dumb question - to use the Camry hybrid as an example, I've noticed that the hybrid tends to hover around the 10% mark for percentage of Camry sales. Is it possible that this percentage is limited not so much by buyer interest but by assembly line output? Or, to put it another way, are Toyota Camry hybrid sales limited because they only produce so many a month? Theoretically, if hybrids are not as profitable as non-hybrids, could Toyota be limiting production of hybrids in order to keep profit margins where they need them to be until the hybrid manufacturing process costs are reduced and the hybrids are profitable vehicles? I know a lot has been said about Toyota losing money on every Prius when they were first introduced, but I don't know if that is still true or not.

The same thought applies to other hybrid vehicles and manufacturers, I'm just using the Camry hybrid as an example.

Max Reid

July-2007
Overall Sales - 1,304,150
Hybrid Sales - 28,585

Thats a share of 2.2 % which is close to YTD share of 2.3 %.

Prius seems to be the only vehicle posting good increase, though Rx400 also increased 13 %.

Sadly many Hybrid models declined more than the average industry declines.

Good news is Toyota is selling a Standard Model Prius for 2008
which is 1,200 less than 2007 model.

Also, the automakers should introduce new Hybrid models only with V4 engine.
They should remove the extras like Digital Monitor, Alloy Wheels and price it lower.

Despite slight declines in gas prices, vehicle sales were very low as customers
fear gas price increase with increase in Oil prices. Yesterday the previou record
of 78.40 has been broken.

Max Reid

Travis

Toyota is not limiting production of Camry, its just that people were not willing to pay 26K and thats why its price is reduced by $1,000. A good move.

Initially Prius made loss because it was the Worlds 1st Hybrid and took all R&D costs, but thats not the case with Camry as it uses the same tech share by Prius, Highlander, RX400 & GS600 models and also the same design as Non-Hybrid Camry.

Toyota, better remove the extras and reduce the price. That will also reduce the vehicle Weight and increase the mileage. So the extra money will be recovered sooner.

Overall, Auto industry is in trouble as people want lesser vehicles and also smaller vehicles.

Lucas

We need to keep in mind that increasing gas prices act just like a very regressive tax increase.

In a very real sense, the world economy is dependant upon the level of greed of the oil cartels.

It's become an interesting balancing act.

Wes

I don't consider it likely that they are intentionally limiting Camry Hybrid production for margin reasons when the reason that Prius sales are up so dramatically year-on-year is that they boosted production dramatically toward the end of calendar 2006. The waiting lists are largely gone, you can generally find what you want in stock on a dealer lot.

As for the R&D cost being shared across all these other Toyota models, don't forget that Ford and Nissan are now paying Toyota patent royalties to license that same technology.

James

I bought a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid in May from a dealer in the Maryland suburbs of DC. I ordered it from the factory in mid-April and it took exactly 4 weeks to arrive at the dealer. Last week I went to pick up my tags at the dealer and the sales people in the lot (not my sales person) told me that Ford has since limited the distribution of Escape Hybrids and the maximum number of Escape Hybrids that they can get is 3% of their total Escape purchases from the factory. Further, they cannot keep any on the lot, and people are paying over the sticker price for them. They assured me that I could now sell mine for well over what I paid ( I purchased on X-plan which is slightly over invoice and then got a $1000 rebate). This experience suggests that for Ford, at least, the limitation is coming from the factory. I think it is a great car and I am getting 32-33 mpg in mixed city and highway driving.

Max Reid

Lucas

OPEC fixed $25 / barrel in 2001, and they increased it to $45, then $50 and then unofficially $60.

Now at $77, they are not willing to increase supply.

We dont know whether they are greedy or they are unable to increase as their fields are aging.

We should be ready for anything. It will be good if automakers introduce more Hybrids with V4 engines which will give good mileage.

James : Appreciate you decision to purchase Escape Hybrid. Hope they apply this technology in smaller cars as well like Focus.

Bob Bastard

I don't know of any manufacturer that produces 'V4' hybrids, although a number of them do use I4 designs while others use V6 ICEs and a few even use V8s

Lad

I hope we all are in for a grouping of pleasant surprises these next few years. As new battery technology reaches the point where mass production is possible and the prices come down, I think we will see the use of more and larger batteries in cars and thus the development of long range PHEVs and BEVs. OPEC and Big Oil are doing their greedy part as they work to keep oil above $70 per barrel. Perhaps my new BEV is already on the drawing board just waiting for an economical battery and a lower price point so I can buy it.

Cervus

I want to fly the road. Turning heads at 100mpg.

Michail

As hybrids are very promising technology it seems unlikely that most manufacters were producing more hybrids a year ago than now. At least for most cars, Toyota stated that they will produce 200 thousands of Priuses in this year for US market, so they can sell only about 16-17k of them on average every month.
So loses in sells in most models aren't very optymistic.
I think that Highladner's sharp loss becouse people are waiting for new Highlander Hybrid which will go on sell on September.

Max Reid

Fly the road is awesome, but the cost is important.

The other manufacturers who make V4 Hybrid are
Nissan-Altima
Honda-Civic
Ford-Escape
Mercury-Mariner
Saturn-Vue
Saturn-Aura

I think the list is good enough.

Another newspiece in bloomberg about Toyota's plugin will be 20 mile range. Actually 8 miles is good enough and will be affordable.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aVrFF_Z_BIlk&refer=home

Reported cars + light trucks sales in July 2007:

GM = -19%
Ford = -19%
Chrysler = - 9%
Toyota = +7%
Honda = +7%

Max Reid

Anonymous

Actually Toyota sales is down 7 % not +7 %.
All their gas-guzzlers, Sequoia, 4-Runner, Sienna are off.
Honda is also down few %age points.

Over all the industry is down 12 % while the Hybrids are up 12 %.

People want vehicles that give higher mileage.

Rob

It's not a V4.

The last automotive application for a V4 was in the Saab 96. Almost everyone uses inline 4's now. The packaging is much better for FWD applications and the parts count is lower. Subaru being the oddball with their Boxer H4 (You could call it a 180-degree V4, I guess.)

About the only place you'll find a V4 these days is in a boat motor, or a Ducati.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V4_engine

Max Reid:

Those are the numbers reported on the national news in Canada. The -12% overall was also reported.

gr

For what it's worth the local Saturn dealer recently claimed the VUE hybrid back ordered with a ninety day wait and dealer allotment. $80 crude will affect all but the blind in transport choices.

Neil

Cervus: I may have to get you to pick up a VV1 for me (they look like sooo much fun). I'll have to smuggle it across the border (I'm sure no one will notice it). I doubt they'd be available here for a couple of years due to government regulations/stupidity/turf protection.

Hybrids need to break the 5%, then the 10% before they're taken seriously by manufacturers.

My daily r/t commute to the train station in 12 miles, so I would love a plug-in hybrid with a 20 mile reach.

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TBill

The V4 engine is Not only in Ducati motorcycles; I have a Honda VFR and Honda ST1300. Both have V4 engines, one transverse mounted.

Max Reid

Anonymous

If your r/t commute is 12 miles, why do u need a plugin with 20 mile range.

Just 12 miles will do, even 8 mile range should be good as it can cover 2/3 of your daily commute. The objective here is to get the premium (paid for plugin) as early as possible.

Max Reid

http://www.hybridcars.com/market-dashboard/jul07-us-sales.html

177 units of Vue and 133 units of Aura were sold in July-2007.

Total Hybrid Sales 28895 and Total Vehicle Sales 1308946
and thats a share of 2.20 %.

Looks like the sales of non-hybrids will be declining steadily in the future.

Dax

Everybody knows that toyota's bringing out a plug-in prius because they're trying to seem ahead of the curve even though GM really caught them off guard with the Volt. The batteries that they're using have been around for a long time, and there have been aftermarket companies who have been doing this for several years now. GM's actually trying to do something revolutionary with the volt.

Anyway, plug-in hybrids look like the future, because nobody wants an electric car that'll die on them if they want to go on a road trip, and at this rate I'll be dead before hydrogen becomes realistic.

Oh yea, I read an article that said the lexus hybrid actually gets worse mileage than the car it replaces, mostly because they beefed up the engine. If I remember correctly, the car got less than 20 mpg. Not exactly green to me.

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