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US Sales of Hybrids in February Dip From Year Before

Reported US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported US sales of hybrids in February dipped 2.5% from the prior year to 22,413 units. The results do not include sales from GM, which does not yet report its hybrid sales separately. Overall, light-duty vehicle sales in the US dropped 6.3% in February from the year before to 1,176,236 units, according to Autodata.

The new vehicle share of reported hybrid sales thus dropped back below the 2% mark to 1.9%—about one-tenth of a percentage point above the share in February 2007.

Reported hybrid percentage share of new US vehicle sales. Click to enlarge.

Toyota sold 10,895 units of the Prius, down 10.9% from the year before. The Camry hybrid posted a robust 4,121 units, up 23.7% from the year before, and representing 11.8% of all Camrys sold. The Highlander hybrid came in with 1,938 units, up a slight 2.4% from 2007, and representing 18.4% of all Highlanders sold.

On the Lexus side, Toyota sold 1,148 units of the Rx 400h, an 8.1% decrease from February 2007, and representing 16.5% of the combined Rx 350/400h sales. The GS 450h came in at 77 units, a drop of 51.9% from the prior year, and representing 34.8% of combined GS 460/450h sales, and 5.4% of all GS model sales (including the GS 350). The high-end LS 600h posted 112 units, representing 5.9% of combined LS 460/600h sales.

Honda sold 1,808 units of the Civic Hybrid, a 6% drop from last year, and representing 7.6% of all Civics sold. The Accord hybrid posted 42 units, a drop of 86.5% year-on-year, and representing 0.2% of all Accord sales.

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

Ford posted combined sales of 1,743 units for the Escape and Mariner hybrids, up 2.8% from last February and representing 10.1% of combined Escape and Mariner sales.

In its limited distribution, Nissan sold 529 units of the Altima hybrid, up 156.8% from February 2007—its first month on sale—and representing 2.3% of all Altimas sold.



Perspective - estimated that total car sales in Feb 2008 are down 2.3% from Feb 2007.


The Prius and Civic are no longer novel. They now compete on merit against other models. Sales of the Camry hybrid and Highlander went up substantially. So did the overlooked Ford Escape.

IMO many buyers will now wait for more choice. Only two or three sedans were available a year ago. Now there are perhaps six, but some are quite expensive. Soon there will be ten or more choices below $40K.

By a trivial margin total hybrid sales may have went up. GM doesn't report but I suspect they sold zip hybrids in Feb 2007 and at least a few in Feb 2008.


2008 is going to be a tough year for all car makers. When you compare February 2008 with 2007 it is misleading. 2007 was a good sales year and February 2007 was strong, 2008 is not and by comparison it looks bad.

Harvey D

Sales in Canada are very different.

For Toyota, in Feb 2008:

Toyota (all) up 28%
Prius up 77.3%
Camry hybrids up 65.6%
Hilanders hybrids up 27.1%
All Toyota hybrids up 41.6%
Toyota trucks up 34.1%
Corola up 29.1%
Tundras up 156 %.

Big three Canadian sales are much lower.

It seems that Canadians (except in Alberta and Sask) are finally buying lower consumption vehicles, (specially Toyota's and Honda's) even if they cost more than other regular ICE units.

Harvey D

For your information,

Honda Canada is also doing very in Feb-2008:

Honda (all) up 50%
Accura up 29%
Honda cars (all) up 53%
Civic (all) up 91%
Honda Trucks (all) up 31%
CR-V up 25%
Accord up 10%
MDX up 38%

Harvey D

For your information,

Honda Canada is also doing very in Feb-2008:

Honda (all) up 50%
Accura up 29%
Honda cars (all) up 53%
Civic (all) up 91%
Honda Trucks (all) up 31%
CR-V up 25%
Accord up 10%
MDX up 38%


In the US, Honda posted an increase but Toyota & GM posted decreases in sales.

Jerry Z

So why is that? Why are Hybrid sales dropping? Sales across the whole of the auto industry are down, so it may be that the hybrids are low as a byproduct of the overall auto industries lackluster sales? Maybe the majority of the country doesn't see high-fuel prices as a reason to switch to high-mileage vehicles? Ok, I doubt that last one... Maybe everyone has decided to abandon the whole petrol market all together and make the switch to all electric? Could be. The Zap Xebra is really affordable (, would be a great option!


Its kind of hard to buy a new car when you've maxed out your credit cards, your house got foreclosed and you voted for Hillary.


All the hype around hybrids, PHEV, EV and other vehicles slated for later in this year (and in the next few years) combined with the credit crunch, stalling economy, sense of debt and pessimism of the future is slowing sales of cars. This does not spare hybrids as all these factors make consumers wary of a big investment in an existing hybrid model.
Businesses and government entities that have access to capital will continue to roll out pilots and larger deployments.
That said, a sharp rise in fuel costs ($3.5-$4/gal) over a period of months will goad consumers back to hybrids and fuel efficient models.

Harvey D


You may have part of the answer but the majority voted for WB.... Would that be the real reason for lower car sales etc?


I think people in the U.S. are taking a wait and see attitude. They have been promised wonderful things in cars by 2010. The credit situation, the economy and other factors say wait and see how things turn out before committing to 3-5 years of car payments.



You might be right, we have been told that there would be so much choice in HEV and PHEV in 2010 that we are all waiting rather than buying, but still I think that today Prius II should still be among the 3 best mileage of the market 3 years from now and that there will not be that many models doing better than 45MPG, just my guess.


keep in mind – overall vehicle sales went down 6.3%, while hybrid sales only went down 2.5%, so hybrids are still selling better than regular vehicles.


I may be mistaken but it looks to me that the hybrid market share increased in February 08 over 07, so the decline in total sales simply reflects market fluctuation.

No biggy.


It may be true that Hybrid sales are down (slighlty) compared to last year's numbers. But what about the small compact cars with great gas mileage like the yaris or fit? Some of those micro cars get better milage than most hybrids.


Compare the HEV sales of Altima and Camry hybrids with the Tahoe hybrid. 2008 may be one of the slowest car sales years in quite a while, but I bet they sell quite a few Camry and Altima hybrids at $25,000 each and very few Tahoe hybrids at $50,000 each.

This is one of the reasons I want Ford to get their Fusion hybrid out there NOW. People will come to the lots to look at the new hybrid and then may end up buying another Fusion model. Over all it will be a big boost to the Fusion line and might bring Ford back to profitability.

Harvey D


The Ford Fusion is almost the same size as the excellent Camry and the beautiful Altima. Since the last two are allready hybridized and available @ about $25-$30K, what would a Ford Fusion Hybrid do more?

Who said the Yaris and the Fit get "great gas mileage"? last time I checked, the Yaris gets 29/36 MPG, and the Fit only 28/34. For cars this size, those are DISMAL figures. Terrible. But they'll do 0-60 in under 10 seconds, with airbags and air-conditioning and automatic everything. The car companies are convinced that Americans won't buy cars that have the same power-to-weight ratios as they did even 15 years ago. Now, every car has to have more than 150 BHP to even make it on the lot. Remember the 1991 Honda CRX HF? It got 40/47 MPG, and that's the NEW EPA numbers. Under the old testing scheme, it was 49/52. Engines have gotten much more efficient since then, but American cars have gotten much heavier. In Europe, the carmakers offer MUCH smaller, less powerful engines, and MUCH smaller, lighter cars. But they think we won't buy them, which may be true. Sad, but true.


"Fit only 28/34"

That surprises me a lot. I have owned a Fit 1.3 CVT for more than a year and got an average consumption of around 5.5 l/100 km (= 42 Mpg US). That's a year round average. I didn't think that was too bad.

B.t.w. I loved the car, but there's always a better model around the corner (Prius).


January and February are generally slow months anyway. Is the dip more to do with the shaky economy?

Prius sales jumped by 69% in 2007, and the hybrid market overall grew by 40%, with 9 new models being released.

The market seems to be on track to reach roughly 4.5% market share by 2010. An estimated 65 hybrid models- 28 cars and 37 light trucks will be available by 2010 in the US.

With each new release we see improved fuel economy, battery life etc, and price- again giving consumers more of a choice.


Those numbers are incredibly low.

I guess people don't mind crude prices of $111/barrel after all.

Jim Adcock

I don't think that European cars are much lighter than a Fit or Yaris. They are more efficient for using smaller engines and more efficient transmissions. Fuel economy is roughly inversely proportional to zero-to-sixty times. When you have a big gas engine that is barely being used 99.99 percent of the time then your fuel efficiency gets pretty close to zero -- in fact when you are stuck in rush hour traffic your engine's efficiency IS zero! A properly designed hybrid allows a small efficient gas engine to be combined with a small but powerful electric motor in order to give great off-the-mark acceleration AND excellent regenerative braking. You'd think hybrid manufacturers would be happy to take this approach and advertise "effective horsepower" and high fuel economy. But instead they seem to be mis-focused on the big-engine/little-motor approach. The Chevy Volt is a counter-example that "gets it right" by combining a powerful electric motor with a tiny gas engine which always runs at high efficiency if it runs at all.


It's also hard to buy a HEV when they won't let you order one. As is the case of the Ford Escape hybrid. There is demand for this vehicle, but you can not get one right now (or even order one). So take those potential sales numbers off the report.

Honda Accord

Check out this Honda Accord commercial (Flash6 required). According to Andrew Sullivan , no special effects were used. They actually set this thing up manually and filmed it hundreds of times before they got it exactly right.

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