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Reported US Sales of Hybrids Up 10% in March; Total LDV Sales Down 12%

Reported sales of US hybrids by month. Click to enlarge.

Reported US sales of hybrids climbed 10% in March 2008 year-on-year to 38,214 units—the second highest monthly total yet, behind only the results from May 2007. Total light-duty vehicle (LDV) US sales in March dropped 12%, according to figures from Autodata, with total passenger car sales dropping 5.4% and total light truck sales dropping 17.8% from March 2007.

Percent changes reported are based on a straight comparison of numbers, and are not adjusted for the selling days in the month. There were 26 selling days in March 2008, as compared to 28 selling days last March. The figures do not include sales results from GM, which does not yet break out its hybrid results in the monthly sales reports.

Percentage share of new vehicle sales. Click to enlarge.

The March results represent a 2.8% share for hybrids of total new vehicle sales in the month.

Toyota reported best-ever March sales of 20,635 for the Prius, an increase of 8% from last March, and the second-best results to date for the hybrid. The Camry Hybrid posted a strong month, with 6,930 units sold, up 35% year-in-year, representing 17.1% of all Camry sales. The Highlander Hybrid turned in 2,239 units in the month, down 10% from the year prior, representing 20.7% of all Highlanders sold.

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

The Lexus Rx 400h sold 1,570 units in March, up 7% from the prior year, representing 20.3% of all Rx models sold. The GS 450h sold 65 units, down 64% from March 2007, representing 3.9% of all GS models sold. The top-end LS 600h sold 113 units, representing 5.3% of all LS models sold.

Honda saw sales of the Civic Hybrid climb 34% in March from the year before to 3,769 units, representing 11.5% of all Civic sales. The Accord Hybrid posted 53 units, down 86% from March 2007, representing 0.1% of all Accord models sold.

Hybrid sales as a percentage of total OEM sales. Click to enlarge.

Combined sales of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids dropped 20% in the month to 2,008 units, representing 9.0% of all Escape and Mariner models sold.

Nissan posted 832 units sold of the Altima Hybrid, an 80% increase from March 2007, representing 2.6% of all Altima models sold.


Harvey D

This is good news. Hybrid sales going up and gas guzzler sales going down is the right direction to go to reduce liquid fuel consumption.

Did (near) $4 US/USA gallon gasoline price help?

By late 2010, with more Hybrids + a few PHEVs and BEVs on the market, this trend should accellerate.

PS: Gas price went up from $4.13 CAN/USA gallon to $4.74 CAN/USA gallon, for no apparent reasons, around our place this morning. This was not expected before summer time holidays in late June. Seems to be an early test to check public response to higher summertime prices.


This proves that people are really feeling the pinch of rising gas prices, and are willing to do something about it! This increase in spite of the fact that the tax break offered for purchase of hybrids was withdrawn this year.


GM Hybrid Sales

During the Q&A, Jeff Green of Bloomberg News asked if they could break out hybrid sales, 'now that you have some on the market?' According to NA Marketing Maven Mark LaNeve. GM sold "577 hybrids [in March], of that amount, let's see, about 450 were the new Tahoe and Yukons; we're just starting to get some some adequate inventory out… The Malibu and Aura hybrids are just getting into the market, just had a handful of deliveries, 30 between the two of them."

I do not think that the tax breaks helped all that much. In some situations it might close the deal with people that were thinking about buying a hybrid. In this case, you are either going to buy one or not. I do not think the tax breaks were all that popular in Congress, we do not make very many hybrids.

YourParkingSpace Blog

It's still a little surprising that hybrids only have a 2.8% market share but it's good to see sales increasing. Anything that reduces the demand for fuel is a good thing at the moment.


It was predicted years ago that hybrid sales would level off at about 2% of vehicle sales and stay there. It seems like they have exceeded that number and are increasing.

I am surprised to see Ford Escape hybrid numbers drop. One factor may be availability. Our local Ford dealers do not have many on the lots and the ones they have are higher priced models. People may think that a Prius is $24k and when they go to the dealer that is close to the price. If they think that the Escape Hybrid is $25k and they get there and the one available is $30k, they look elsewhere.


Alot of the realy wastefu; sobs who owned suvs/trucks without a need around here got annialated by the housing market because they were making all there money flipping houses.

The rest realy dont need new suvs all that often specialy as gm suvs LAST.

What we are realy seeing is a combo of the trash rich getting trasjed and alot of people finding out for the first time ever that yes you can keep a car after its warranty ebds and even shock of shock make a final payment.

Also for the first time in thier lives many are buying used as for alot 2 used cars can save 1000 or more a month.


It is much more economical to own your car rather than finance a new one and lose the depreciated value. Some people have been refinancing their house and using the money to buy cars. They are not suppose to deduct the interest on that money, but I would guess that some do.


Hybrid sales are up & that's good. But for those who need cheaper, the smaller non-hybrids are selling even better. Toyota Yaris rose 3000 to 12900+, a 30% rise. Nissan Versa rose ~2500 to 8100+, ~42%. Honda Fit jumped 2500 cars to 6800+, ~ 58% rise. Yes, these cheaper cars will do you fine...for the less monied but just as environmental people.


"The March results represent a 2.8% share for hybrids of total new vehicle sales in the month."

That's still a very small percentage. One would think that Honda Civic Hybrid for instance would be approaching 50% of all Civic sales.


The Prius is a separate model, it is not a Corolla hybrid. That may not seem to be a big thing, but with perception it can be.

If I am looking at a Civic, I have a choice of hybrid or other version. I compare prices, features, mileage, other factors and end up buying a non hybrid.

I believe hybrids can bring customers to the brand and the model, but most will buy non hybrid. With the Prius, you either buy the basic model or the upgraded model, but there are no non hybrid Prius.

hampden wireless

Ford is having trouble getting batteries and therefore there are not enough hybrids getting to the dealers. Some dealers are again marking them above list and making enemies instead of customers. I am sure Ford would sell at least 15% and maybe as high as 25% of Escapes as hybrid if they were discounted like the gas models as apposed to either not being discounted at all (MSRP only) or with prices above MSRP.


We Americans emit the most CO2 (green-house gas) per person. The CO2 emissions per person in the developing countries is only about 1/10 that of an American.
And, assuming that "All humans have equal rights and privileges", it is clear that the US needs to take drastic meassures to reduce their emissions of CO2.
This clearly indicates the need for the increased use of public transportation, bicycling or walking to work.
Ever wonder why most US cities have such primitive public transportation ? It's because the US automotive-industry-mafia wouldn't have it any other way. They've brainwashed us into believing that we MUST buy one car per American man, woman, child, and dog, with the head-of-the-family installed in a monster gas-guzzling SUV. It doesn't have to be this way. Start riding the bus to work, and see the difference it makes.


Well... if EV makes it, why not ER?

Been waiting to see this idea "surface."

I had similar thoughts of electric roads and Mattel hotwheels or continuous energy feedback loops to cars. Everything is potential energy if you think about it, from median to fences to windows. As cost goes down, everything will be considered energy collectibles.

Rafael Seidl

Looks like the Prius is still outselling all other hybrids put together. Also, GM's share of the hybrid market must be minute if they still refuse to break out sales.

Note that the chart only tracks *electric* hybrids. Other types of hybrids, notably turbocharged engines, are not represented.



I bought a Prius last November after shopping for a Civic Hybrid. The Honda dealer didn't have any on the lot -- nada. Honda could sell 50% hybrids, but they don't make enough because they can't make money on them yet. Toyota subsidized the Prius until they could get costs down; Honda doesn't seem willing to do that.

Dan A

I believe the Ford Foccus is the highest volume compact car, and it was the fastest increasing sales year-over-year on the NYT's list, although to be fair it was redesigned this year.

Harvey D


Most of what you said is true but we don't like to be reminded what we are.

We prefer to write and read about the old and new polluting coal power plants in China and India but we don't want to know that those people are polluting 1/8 to 1/6 (per capita) as much as we do.

It seems that we have the right to produce GHG at a yearly rate of almost 25-ton/per capita, but nobody else do, except our good Canadians and Australians friends who are allowed to do even better at slightly more than 25 tons per capita.


JamesEE, that's probably the sad truth. Maybe Honda should scrap it's F-1 project promoting environmental causes and use the $500 million annual budget to subsidize hydrids until they reach critical mass.


I love that first chart, btw. Hope to see the red line continue its upward trend.

Robert Marston

I think it's great hybrids are capturing larger and larger portions of the market. Even better that efficient cars are doing so well. Hopefully we'll have 50+ mpg vehicles soon.

Peak Oil. It's happening now. Net world exports have been falling since 2005. So things are bound to get more expensive year on year.


As I have mentioned before elsewhere, it's clear that rising fuel costs are good for the problems of our environment and American dependence on imported oil. Despite tons of congressional mandates and incentives the driving force in automotive economics continues to be "It costs how much a gallon?!?!" No matter how good the arguments for green choices are, the most effective persuader is still to hit people in their wallets. All the theoretical arguments and pictures of melting icebergs or swimming polar bears won't hold a candle to sticker shock at the gas pump. Bravo to Exxon, Shell, BP and the rest, you're managing to get Americans to do more to solve the problems of reduced emissions and less imported oil usage then all the political appeals and green propaganda ever did. At this rate you will price gas guzzlers into oblivion in another five years, keep up the rising prices! $10 per gallon ought to put us at 100 percent biofuels and make almost every alternate energy method profitable. Go Big Oil go!


And let's not forget that CO2 is far more dangerous than particulate, NO, CO, and SO2 drifting across the oceans to pour acid rain on forests and lakes.


Civic hybrid doesn't sell because it doesn't have a much better fuel efficiency than may other civics. Until it gets to 50 mpg and above it just won't be appealing.

I am driving a 13 year old Civic CX that cost me 15K and still has 45 mpg compared to a new Civic hybrid today is well above 30K and about the same 45 mpg. So what is the point???? Sure new Civic hybrid is bigger, has more bells and whistles. But then the old CX is good enough for my commute to work, so ....

Any hybrid today that wants to take a good chunck of the market has to do at least 50 mpg and have a reasonable price.

P.S.: Canadian prices are higher than US.


Here's an article that you should read:

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