Reported US Hybrid Sales Up 36% In December, 38% for 2007

04 January 2008
 Reported hybrid sales by month. Click to enlarge.

Reported sales of hybrids in December 2007 in the US reached 30,871 units, a year-on-year increase of 36%. Combined reported sales for all of 2007 climbed 38% to almost 350,000 units. GM is not yet breaking out its hybrid sales in reporting, so actual totals are higher. Total light-duty vehicle sales in the US dropped 2.9% in December, and 2.5% for the year, according to Ward’s.

With those reported numbers, hybrids closed out the year with a 2.22% share of the new vehicle market in December, and a 2.15% new vehicle market share for the entire year.

 Reported hybrid share of new vehicle sales. The dotted line is a linear trend line for 2007. Click to enlarge.

Toyota’s Prius continued its dominance, with 14,212 units—a 53% increase from December 2006 and its strongest December performance yet. The Camry Hybrid posted 4,969 units, up 24% from December 2006 and representing 12.8% of all Camrys sold. The Highlander Hybrid SUV also had a strong December, with 2,791 units sold, a 19% increase from December 2006. That represented 19% of all Highlander models sold in the month.

The Lexus GS 450h turned in 136 units, a decrease of 46% from 2006, but still representing 41.8% of the combined GS 460/450h lineup, and 5.3% of all GS models (including the GS 350). The top-end LS 600h posted 129 units, for 4% of the combined LS 460/600h models. The Rx 400h posted 2,032 units, a slight increase of 3% from December 2006, representing 17.2% of the combined Rx 350/400h sales for the month.

 Hybrid component of brand sales. Click to enlarge.

Honda’s Civic Hybrid showed strong results with 3,223 units—an increase of 34% from December 2006 representing 11.9% of all Civic models sold. The Accord Hybrid posted only 150 units, down 59% from 2006, and representing 0.5% of all Accords sold.

Ford’s hybrid SUVs—the Escape and Mariner—also posted a strong month, with 2,265 units. That represents a 15% increase from the prior December, and accounts for 14.6% of all Escape and Mariners sold.

Nissan sold 964 units of the Altima Hybrid in its eight-state restricted sales areas, representing 3.8% of Altima sales.

I think that it is significant that sales fell off during the summer months. I interpret this as a sign that the Supply was limited, and hybrid model sales were constrained because of that reason. Many hybrid models were simply sold out and unavailable with hybrid drive trains at the end of the model year.

It wasn't until the next year's models were received at dealers, that some hybrid models were again available, so hybrid sales picked up once again. A good sign for further market penetration and the acceptance by the buying public of such drive trains.

It augurs well for the market acceptance of PHEVS that are still not being produced but are reportedly coming. The cheaper operating fuel, (electricity at 75 cents a gallon equivalent), will certainly make them acceptable, meanwhile the buying public does not seem to be put off by the complexities of the hybrid drive trains.

Interesting how the 4 year old Prius is STILL selling about as well as all of the other hybrids COMBINED, even though all of those are newer hybrids presumably with newer, better hybrid systems. I keep expecting Prius sales to drop at the expense of newer hybrids, but they keep making more every year and selling more. How long can it last? I'd guess that sales won't increase much in 2008, especially since the Prius will be revised for 2009(?) and Honda is also supposed to come out with competition.

Why is GM not telling us their hybrid sales numbers? Are they that bad? For a company that's about to put out several new hybrid models every year, you'd think they would want to advertise their sales.

Many of the hybrids out there are just (mis)using hybrid technology to boost horsepower and not to improve fuel economy. Couple that with the fact that there are a number of non-hybrid cars that get in the 30-40mpg range. So to me the percentage of vehicles that are hybrids doesn't interest me quite so much.

I guess I would be interested in the average fuel economy for the vehicles sold in any given month. That would be a far more interesting number.

Avg hybrid MPG:
~60% Prius, Civic-avg mid 40s
~20% Camry, Altima - avg mid 30s
~20% SUVs +others -avg high 20s

= 39-40 MPG for sales weighted hybrid avg.

Considering that CAFE for the US car fleet (not incl. trucks,SUVs) is around 28-29 mpg, that doesn't sound so great for hybrids. But CAFE is calculated based on the old highway MPG tests, so by that test, hybrids would be in the high 40s.

The achieved as opposed to the required CAFÉ is now over 30 mpg in the USA. The US domestic brands have achieved a slightly higher CAFÉ than the foreign brands surprisingly.

You are quite correct that CAFÉ is computed using the techniques used to compuite the original mileage expectations, that appeared on auto window sales stickers. They were toughened up by a reduction of 10% city and 20% highway. later. Subsequently the past year, they were toughened some more.

Stan said:

"The achieved as opposed to the required CAFÉ is now over 30 mpg in the USA."

Stan, do you have a reference for this data. The last I data I remember was 2006 data, which I believe said the fleet mileage was either even or down a 0.1 mpg from 2005. If I remember correctly, the new car fleet mileage was in the 22-23 mpg range. If you could point to a better source than my memory? Thanks.

Stan,

You're wrong on CAFE. The number on the window stickers is not the same as the CAFE mileage. CAFE mileage did not change at all, just the testing standards used to assess fuel economy for new vehicles for comparison purposes. This testing is carried out by the DOE. Emissions are governed by the EPA.

NHTSA is responsible for implementing CAFE changes, and their testing standards did not change for MY2008. So although your mileage may vary, the NHTSA's did NOT. MY2008 CAFE mileage will not take a 15% as indicated by the DOE window stickers.

A.

GM probably doesn't post hybrid numbers because for openers, their first actual hybrids, the two modes, only came out late '07. Turns out, they are "available in limited markets". TRY to get one. Good luck

if anyone thinks that Prius sales will slowdown in anticipation of a new model upgrade for 2009, you might want to take a look at what USED Priuses are selling for.

with gas at $3 a gallon, waiting list for a Prius is 6-12 weeks... if gas goes to$3.50 (estimated to be at $4 by end of Feb) the waiting time on list will double. iow, no one is waiting until 2009...not when many can save$50 a week in gas

Remember that the CAFE (no accent mark needed on the E, it isn't a diner ;-) also makes allowances for flex-fuel vehicles, assuming something like half will be used on the alternative fuel (in reality, few are). This in effect doubles the actual mpg of the vehicle (based on gallons of gasoline), and is what helps the domestic automakers reach their numbers with thirsty SUVs.

@],

I agree with you and that is what I meant but my syntax was wrong. What I meant was the every original auto window stickers from the late 70s. Methods for calculating CAFÉ have not changed, at all.

Todays auto sticker is and has been modified from CAFÉ by reducing city by 10% and highway by 20%; and then computing "combined" as 60% city and 40% highway miles.

Subsequently the current auto stickers were reduced by another 15% circa 2007-2008.

Sorry about the syntax garble and confusion. And thank you for explaining it to others.

@Whybrid,

Try this URL: and credit the GCC poster "jack", for unearthing it originally:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/supplement/supref.html.

Well, Stan, using the datasets you kindly referenced to me, I found the a 147 page table of energy consumption "facts" assembled by the Energy Information Agency.

So, using the column found for 2007 new car fuel usage, I found the following information:

Light Car EPA fuel rating 29.7 MPG
Light Car "on-road" rating 23.7 MPG

Light Truck EPA fuel rating 22.2 MPG
Light Truck "on-road" rating 17.0 MPG

and I also found some 2007 sales figures that showed light car sales to be 40.3% of total light vehicle sales, and light truck sales to be 59.7% of light vehicle sales.

So, for 2007 EPA light vehicles, MPG calculates to be:
.403 x 29.7 + .597 x 22.2 = 25.2 MPG

and the "on-road" MPG calculates as:

.403 x 23.7 + .597 x 17.0 = 19.7 MPG

So, Stan, please note that NO component of the 2007 new car exceeds 30 MPG, and the "real world" fleet mileage is LESS THAN 20 MPG.

I think, Stan, you should retract your earlier statement about a 2007 fleet mileage that exceeds 30 MPG.

Interestingly, the EIA shows the new car fraction of light vehicle sales declining in the future. If that prediction is correct, then even if the mileage of each vehicle type improves slightly, we can still expect the "on-road" mileage of the new vehicle fleet to continue to decline, and our risk to price spikes, supply shortages, etc. to continue to grow.

Regards,
WVhybrid

Karkus, the Detroit News has reported the 2007 sales figures for GM's 'hybrids'.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080108/AUTO01/801080397/1148

Vue: 7,129
Aura: 734

Source: Autodata Corp.

GM does not release these in their monthly figures.

If you take 1 million cars off the road, you might reduce gasoline consumption less than 1% in the U.S. If the hybrids get twice the mileage and you have 1 million hybrids in service, you might reduce gasoline consumption less than 1/2%.

If the U.S. burns 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year, we are going to have to have LOTS of hybrids, car pooling, telecommuting, biofuels and all other methods to make a significant difference in gasoline consumption.

I think with E10 and millions of hybrids on the road, along with car pooling and telecommuting we can make a significant difference, but it is going to take a LOT of us doing it real soon now to turn things around.

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