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US Sales of Hybrids Up 30% in October

Us_hybrid_sales_2007101
US hybrid new vehicle marketshare by month. Click to enlarge.

Reported sales of hybrids in the US climbed 30% from the results of October 2006 to an aggregate 24,443 units in October 2007. The reported figures do not include hybrid sales results from GM. Overall light duty vehicle sales in the US rose 1.2% in October 2007 to 1,231,575 units, according to figures from Autodata.

The results push hybrids’ marketshare of new vehicle sales for the month back up close to the 2% mark (1.98%) after the drop of the prior two months.

Us_hybrid_sales_2007102
US hybrid sales by month. Click to enlarge.

Toyota’s Prius had its best October yet, with 13,158 units, an increase of 50.7% over October 2006. Sales of the Camry Hybrid were up 25% for the month to 3,511 units, representing 10.4% of all Camry models sold. Sales of the Highlander Hybrid were down 63.7% to 596 units, representing 6.2% of Highlanders sold.

The high-end LS 600h sold 175 units in its third month of sales, representing 5.9% of combined LS 460/LS 600h sales. Sales of the Rx 400h climbed 12.3% to 1,392 units, representing 17.5% of combined Rx 350/400h sales. The GS 450h posted 71 units, a drop of 59.9% from October 2006, but still representing 87.7% of combined GS 430/450h sales. Factoring in all GS models, the hybrid accounted for 4.7% of sales.

Us_hybrid_sales_2007103
Hybrid sales as a component of brand sales. Click to enlarge.

Honda’s Civic Hybrid dropped 2 units (-0.1%) to post 2,286 sales in October 2007, accounting for 9.6% of Civic models sold in the month. Sales of the Accord Hybrid were down 15.3% to 243 units, representing 0.8% of Accord sales for the month.

Ford saw a 30% increase in sales of the Mariner and Escape hybrids, posting a combined 2,084 units representing 14.1% of brand sales.

Nissan posted 927 units of the Altima Hybrid (on sale in only eight states), accounting for 4.3% of all Altima sales in the month.

Comments

Oct.2007 sales puts Escape Hybrid over 60,000 units

george k

30% increase in October (year over year) is a very good jump. However, there are a couple other ways to look at it.

With total sales of 25,454 in October, so far this year, we have had 4 months lower and 5 months higher. However, y-t-d October 07 is up about 33% (numbers could be off slightly), again, a solid and consistent gain.

But, I'm still surprised that with oil over 96 dollars/barrel, only 2% of the public are buying hybrids. Don’t you want to say, “wise up people!”.

Max Reid

Prius continues to increase in sales and maintain the leadership. But wondering why it has fallen from the higher levels during summer.

Good that Escape/Mariner continues to hold on. It may increase soon as Taxis go for Hybrids.

GS450h is slowly going down. Highlander Hybrid went down even with a completely redesigned model : Reason : They made it wider, longer and heavier and it gave 10 % lesser mileage. Green customers simply rejected it.

Sales of LS600h is also slowly down. Rx400h alone is increasing somewhat. If Toyota does not bring another Hybrid with V4 engine, they may be in trouble. GM has again overtaken Toyota in Q2 & Q3 overall sales.

Overall, 30 % increase compared to the total market's 1.2 is still good.

Nissan should expand to other states as well.

Max Reid

George K.

Oil prices are high, but gas prices are still low. Reason is many exporting Countries are refining and selling the gas.

Again the $90 + Oil has started showing the increase.
Currently its $ 2.94 / gallon and may soon hit the $3 mark.

Karkus

The Prius has fallen from higher sales levels (24000 in May) earlier this year in part because they can't make enough Priuses to sustain those kinds of sales.
Toyota was targeting 200000 for the US in 2007, which is 16667 per month. So far they've sold ~150000, so they're at ~15000 per month. Not quite maxed out, but close. Note that sales have been higher every summer so far, but this is the first year where they aren't totally supply limited. However, it continues to be one of the hottest cars around (usually at #1) if you look at how little time they spend on a sales lot on average.

I am a little surprised that other hybrids aren't selling better. The general public still isn't aware that we're probably near "peak oil" (or there already). Check out TheOilDrum.com if you have any doubts about that. However, I have heard talk like that on major network news shows in the past few weeks ! (although not "peak oil" itself).

Highlander Hybrid went down even with a completely redesigned model : Reason : They made it wider, longer and heavier and it gave 10 % lesser mileage.

It gets the same exact mileage as it did last year.

Max Reid

H-Highlander 2008 does not get the same mileage as 2007 model, its lower. Check in Edmunds.

2007
----
http://www.edmunds.com/new/2007/toyota/highlanderhybrid/100785840/specs.html

2008
----
http://www.edmunds.com/new/2008/toyota/highlanderhybrid/100942022/specs.html

If Toyota keeps reducing mileage of Hybrids with new models, people will go instead to a vehicle like Tahoe Flexfuel which seems to be the best seller.

Dave

Max Reid - you are forgetting that 2008 fuel economy measurement standards have changed. The 2007 and 2008 Highlander hybrid 4wd both get the same mileage according to fueleconomy.gov - 27 city / 25 highway / 26 combined. The 2007 Highlander hybrid 2wd is slightly better in the city getting 28 mpg.

NBK-Boston

Hybrids remain a niche because it is easy enough to compensate financially for rising gas costs by downsizing in the conventional model range without having to turn to hybrids.

By downsizing only slightly, a consumer will save some gas, some money off the purchase price, some money off the insurance (most likely), and possibly some money on maintenance and consumables (small tires cost less than large ones, for example). All these points of savings can go towards defraying the higher cost of a gallon of gas, and the customer comes out the same. Basically, by giving up an Explorer in favor of a Taurus, you can continue to drive as much as before without extra cost -- no need to make a radical move into "exotic" technologies.

There is, to my mind, good reason to think that hybrids sales are at least in good part driven by image -- the buyer wants to project a green attitude. This would explain why the Prius hybrid has six times higher sales volume than that Civic hybrid, despite the fact that both have similar mileage and price levels. The Prius comes across more obviously as a hybrid to the casual observer, and the buyer likes that attribute.

Harvey D

george k:

With oil at $96/barrel one would expect gas to be at least $3.50/gal at the pump. Are refiners buying oil at a reduced price? Is there a secondary cheaper oil market?

Gas below $3/gal is not good news for hybrid sales. A progressive (over 3 to 4 years) $3 to $4/gal carbon tax could help.

Some of the $ billions collected could be used to offset hybrids and PHEVs extra cost + to buy and send a few million older gas guzzlers to the scrap yard. This way, older gas guzzler owners would have 3 good (economic) reasons to switch to hybrids or PHEVs, i.e.

1) getting a good price to scrap the old gas guzzlers.
2) getting a generous subsidy (up to $10K) to buy an hybrid or PHEV.
3) Reducing the fuel bill by up to 50% +.

HealthyBreeze

Another factor in hybrid sales, in California at least, is that the state ran out of car-pool-lane exemption stickers, which was an attractive perk for busy people to get when they bought a hybrid. I don't know what the biorythms are for all light duty vehicles, but summer seems to be when more people go looking for a car.

Who will be the next manufacturer to make a hybrid with a distinctive body style that can be recognized from down the street as an eco car? That seems to be an important part of what some buyers are after. The Honda civic and the other hybrids don't offer the cache value because they look the same as the standard models.

Nick

HealthyBreeze:

Honda's promised, sub-Civic-sized, hybrid-only car may be the one you're looking for...

Max Reid

There are few reasons for cheaper gas.

* Oil exporting countries are refining and exporting gas, so more gas is available.

* Fall blends are cheaper to make

* US refiners are running at max capacity.

But all this is only a short term, gas prices have already started rising. Luckily this year, prices ranged between $2 and $3.2

If Oil prices stay @ 90 + / barrel, expect gas prices to hover between $3 - $4 / gallon. And Hybrids, only the gas sippers like Prius, Civic, Camry, Altima, Escape & Mariner will sell while the gas-guzzlers will fall.

Another good news is Malibu-Hybrid is launched. Since Chevy is better known make than Saturn, it should sell well.

Chevy_Volt

Any indication on GM hybrid sales?

Sales of the Camry Hybrid were up 25% for the month to 3,511 units, representing 10.4% of all Camry models sold. -- awesome news. The best selling car's hybrid version is selling well. Next gen. hybrid Camry should get even higher % of overall sales

Bill

VW's back w/ 50 state diesels next spring for the U.S.

Wonder how quickly they'll sell out.

Raymond

I do think we are within one year of Toyota replacing the Prius with a third-generation model, one that will have both a "regular" version and one that sacrifices some cargo space for true plug-in hybrid operation. The Toyota 1/x concept car shown at the recent Tokyo Motor Show could be a preview of what the new Prius will be like.

Andrey

Max:

Looks like this summer competition finally caught up with sky high profit margins of oil companies:

“combined third-quarter profit of Chevron, Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC fell 11 percent”.

Yahoo finance.

Hence gasoline price rises slower than crude oil, as it should be.

Next target would be crude oil speculators on NYMEX.

P.S. US refineries currently are running with low load factor.

cs1992

Why can't Ford, whose Hybrid Escape is fairly impressive IMHO, offer a hybrid 4-door sedan? I realize the Fusion is slated to be "hybridized", but what is taking so long? Furthermore, they would have been better served by offering a hybrid Ford Focus (with the European styling) rather than revamping the current US model into its current offering.

Mark Gutting-Kilzer

For some silly reason it is apparent that $3/gallon is the magic number for driving buyers to hybrid vehicle showrooms. Yet everyone I know who has purchased a hybrid has been flabbergasted by how powerful, efficient and reliable hybrids are and have become enthusiasts. Is there really that much FUD to overcome where a slight dip in fuel prices changes ones view about hybrid purchases?

BTW - Why can't a hybrid minivan be sold in America when they are available in Japan? Toyota, Honda . . . what are you waiting for?

Nick

cs1992:

Ford is losing money at a fantastic clip. I'm sure they'd love to speed up hybrid introductions, but management is distracted trying to figure out how deeply to cut expenses so as to keep the company afloat.

hampden wireless

I am not sure why the hybrid Fusion is now over a year late. Its a shame, we need another full hybrid out there.


The Prius is doing quite well for a car that is getting close to its five year mark. Still after that amount of time there is no real alternative to it other then diesels (which to ME are not an alternative). I would have liked Toyota to refresh the batteries and controller on the CURRENT generation Prius but I guess its simpler to continue making them the way they are.

Max Reid

I dont think Toyota will make changes to current Prius.

Instead they will concentrate and develop the next model better. Even in 5th year, Prius is in Top 8 within cars.

Year-2008 is probably going to start with $3 / gallon gas and will retain that price throught the year and naturally Prius will be the top-seller.

Seems 829,000 units of Prius is sold worldwide. Next year, it will hit million mark.

For the next model, everyones eyes are on Lithium batteries. Even if they go with Nickel, still its good.

gr

Prius first introduced worldwide in 1997 - in US in 2000 (pre-intro). People want to buy the car with the best track record in fuel economy, customer service, reliability, brand recognition etc. They do not purchase a new car because the current fuel cost has risen. Most people cannot afford to run out a buy a new hybrid of any kind just because a gallon of gas goes to $3.00. Confiscatory taxation will not raise a person's disposable income to allow new car purchases. Tax credits on trade-ins for hybrids will send far more buyers to the showroom than $6 gas.

What makes a difference is when certain brands are seen to meet a variety of needs. e.g. Prius has admirable fuel economy, is the market leader, has a huge brand backing it, is perceived as a green prestige vehicle. And it is not a big SUV like Escape - the message is build smaller, safe passenger vehicles with Prius competitive fuel economy.

Chevrolet VOLT will meet the challenge for under $30k.

NBK-Boston

The Ford Escape is not a "big SUV." It's in the smallest category of SUVs, and fairly moderate even compared to large sedans.

Some weight comparisons (will vary by trim level):

Prius: 2900 lbs.
Escape: 3600 lbs.
Five Hundred: 3800 lbs.
Explorer: 4700 lbs.
Expedition: 6300 lbs.

The Escape weighs 700 more than the Prius, but 200 less than the Five Hundred, 1100 less than the Explorer, and 2700 less than the Expedition. It's a pretty moderate vehicle by American standards. It's poor aerodynamics do not help its economy numbers, though.

NBK-Boston

The Ford Escape is not a "big SUV." It's in the smallest category of SUVs, and fairly moderate even compared to large sedans.

Some weight comparisons (will vary by trim level):

Prius: 2900 lbs.
Escape: 3600 lbs.
Five Hundred: 3800 lbs.
Explorer: 4700 lbs.
Expedition: 6300 lbs.

The Escape weighs 700 more than the Prius, but 200 less than the Five Hundred, 1100 less than the Explorer, and 2700 less than the Expedition. It's a pretty moderate vehicle by American standards. Its poor aerodynamics do not help its economy numbers, though.

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