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Reported US Sales of Hybrids in April Pass 3% Market Share of New Vehicles Sold

Us_hybrid_sales_2008041
New vehicle market share for reported hybrid sales. Click to enlarge.

Reported US sales of hybrids in April climbed 46% to 39,898 units from April 2007. While April is the second-highest reported monthly total of hybrid sales, the increase in hybrid volume combined with the general decrease in light-duty vehicle sales (earlier post) pushed the new vehicle market share for hybrids past the 3% mark for the first time, to 3.2%. The results do not include hybrid sales from GM.

Sales of Toyota’s Prius were up 67% to 21,757 units. Toyota has now sold more than 680,000 Priuses in total in the US (more than 514,000 beginning in 2004), and will likely break the 700,000-unit mark next month.

Us_hybrid_sales_2008042
Reported US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Camry Hybrid sold 6,678 units, up 51% from April 2007, representing 16.7% of all Camry models sold. The Highlander Hybrid sold 2,578 units, up 8% from last year, representing 25.8% of all Highlander models sold—the highest hybrid percentage of any brand with mixed conventional and hybrid powertrain models on the market.

The Lexus Rx 400h sold 1,624 units, up 17%, and representing 22.7% of Rx sales. The GS 450h posted 82 units, a drop of 53% from April 2007, representing 5.2% of GS sales. The top-end LS 600h sold 122 units, for 6.1% of all LS sales.

Us_hybrid_sales_2008043
Hybrid component of brand sales. Click to enlarge.

The Honda Civic Hybrid posted 4,324 units, a 51% increase from April 2007, representing 12.7% of all Civic models sold. Sales of the Accord Hybrid dropped 92% from last April to 25 units, for 0.1% of all Accord sales.

Ford posted combined Escape and Mariner hybrid sales of 1,907 units, a 16% drop from last April, for 10.3% of all Escape and Mariner models sold.

Nissan sold 801 units of the Altima hybrid in its limited distribution, for 3.5% of all Altima sales.

Comments

Alex Kovnat

With all the talk about the world coming to an end from global warming if we don't go from giant SUV's to fuel-sipping hybrid-electric vehicles, I prefer not to hear anybody crying in their beer about unemployment among US autoworkers caused by cars from Japan or South Korea.

Schmeltz

Some observations:

Prius sales up 67%, Camry Hybrid up 51%, Honda Civic Hybrid up 51%.....Ford Escape/Mariner Hybrids DOWN 16%??? Huh? Why in the world did Ford Escape Hybrids have a sales decrease?

Total share of the new vehicle market is now past 3%... That's it? Just 3%??? Gas is approaching $4.00/gal. and all they can sell is 3% of all of the new cars sold as hybrids? What's the problem?

Harvey D

Hybrids sale over the 3% barrier. Its amazing to see what a combined economic slowdown and $4+/gal gas can do to buyers behavior.

More of the same incentives may push hybrids sale to 5% by year end, if they are available.

The improved Prius in January 2009 will be a gate crasher.

Sicnarf

Schmeltz,

Don't be so quick to bash these numbers. 3% of the total new car market is a huge proportion when you consider the limited selection of hybrids. What you should be considering is the large saturation of the currently produced hybrids. Companies who are serious about offering the hybrid model aka. Honda and Toyota are showing gangbuster numbers for these models. Companies like GM and Ford produce hybrid models for show, but refuse to offer these cars in mass quantities because of slim profit margins. Some companies want to claim to be green yet refuse to step up to the plate.

That point aside, this news is very encouraging and will likely begin to encourage other car makers to produce hybrids. If every company was making hybrids like Toyota we would see market share through the roof. Look at Toyota, they have only 3 hybrid models available and those 3 hybrid models make up 15% of their vehicle sales. 15%!! And that is only 3 models. The potential is there, it is all about costs. It is a long term shift but we will get there eventually, it's not going to happen overnight.

Sasparilla

>> Why in the world did Ford Escape Hybrids have a sales decrease? <<

Given the fact that it is the highest mileage small SUV available (so they should be selling all they can make)...I'm guessing this sales decrease is due to the fact that they didn't have vehicles to sell.

For whatever reason Ford has constantly given excuses for why it produces so few of these vehicles - normally centered on the batteries, although Cobasys is selling GM all the NiMH they want. Makes you wonder if there is something else going on here - maybe Ford doesn't make much money on them. Just a thought.

SJC

"Camry Hybrid sold 6,678 units, up 51% from April 2007.."

This and the Altima are the ones to watch. The Nissan hybrid is only sold in a few states, but that could change.

The Excape/Mariner numbers could be do to a lack of availability. Ford complained more than a year ago that they could not get the components. Now the only ones on the lots are the loaded high priced ones in fewer numbers.

Tom

Um, I believe Toyota is selling all of the Prius's they can make.

I get 45mpg going 80mph on the highway.
55mpg in the cooler months
48 mpg in the summer in Arizona with the airconditioner going.

My last car was a Cadilac Catera (19mpg)which averaged a trip to the shop once every 6 weeks for the 7 yrs I had it. The prius has never been in the shop once (1.5yrs old).

I was considering a Lexus, but opted for the Prius - that alone saved me $10,000+.

Compared to the 19mpg of the catera, and the fact that i'm putting on 18,000 miles per year, saves me about $2,000 a year in gas money over the catera @ $3.00 gas.

Tom

clarification:
55 mpg is around town with a mix of highway and city driving as well as the 48 mpg number.

I don't know what the delta is on the freeway between hot / cold months.

Hybrid fan

3% is five doublings away from 100%. Paging Moore's law...

Cervus

I have no doubt that they'd be over 5% if there were enough on the market to sell that many.

CNN says that most Americans are expecting $5 gas. Oil prices surged over $120 today, with no end in sight. But oil demand is down 2.7% over year-ago levels. At 20.5 million barrels per day last year, that comes out to almost 600,000 barrels per day. Which is more than the 400k per day drop from Mexico.

Can we get to -5%, I wonder?

Patrick

I suspect we won't need a gas tax to "artificially" raise the price of gas after all... the way the political environment[around the world] has been going and continued increase in use of resources (developing nations, not the US) it looks like high gas prices are hear to stay. We seem to be right at the tipping point where people, for the most part, begin to step into smaller vehicles, more hybrids, and drive less often.

NCydr

Big three are still playing catch up and will be for years, maybe decades. GM is trying to do a little leapfrog with their Volt platform, Ford is caught like a deer in the headlights, and Chrysler is still undecided whether it wants to be a car company or a fire-breathing, multi-headed guard dog.

Toyota's price is spot on. None of the big three wants to compete in that sized hybrid car because they will get slaughtered. So, they put out their few thousand hybridized SUVs per year and call themselves green ... cigars and bonuses all around. Harumph.

Schmeltz

To be clear, I wasn't bashing the article, but I am taken back by the news. I was expecting quite a bit more actually like 7% or 8%, not 3%. Just disappointing IMHO. An increase is an increase though, and that's the bright spot I guess.

Ford is disappointing with their Escape Hybrid sales. From what I've read, it's a good vehicle...just no dealers have them. It is definitely a vehicle on my short list, (if my short list had money). If I was Ford, I would put a "priority order" on those things. Maybe it's like one of the posters suggested above in that Ford loses money on them, therefore isn't inclined to push them. Don't know.

Patrick

NCydr - when you look at the difference in base price for a Toyota Corolla vs the Ford Focus and Chevy Cobalt "XFE" it doesn't look like ford and GM are that far behind anymore (on small vehicles). Extra price on the Corolla buys you a bit of reliability and reputation...fuel economy is close on all three. Suspension & braking in the Ford and Chevy are probably on par if not slightly better than the Toyota (Corollas have a rear suspension system like a truck - torsion beam - which sacrifices handling).

Hybrid fan

"I was expecting quite a bit more actually like 7% or 8%, not 3%."

To paraphrase others here, "They can only sell as many as they make." Hybrids are now out of stock, and the waiting lists are growing. Note to car makers: if you want to sell cars, make hybrids!

I also like the specs on the Escape hybrid, have the money but, (A) can't find one, (B) am not convinced of Fords long term support of hybrids, they seem to be refocusing on diesels.

Cervus

I decided to upgrade my scooter to a Suzuki Burgman 400 from my Honda Reflex 250. Same MPG (I got 64mpg last tank) but more power and safer at freeway speeds. This means I can ride it every day. That halves my gasoline use.

And I swear that every third Prius I see here in San Diego is brand new with dealer plates.

sulleny

Toyota lost money on Prius the first three years. It's called doing business.

NCyder

@Patrick

My comments were concerning the hybrid vehicles.

Schmeltz

Another thought on this...wonder what will happen to Hybrid sales when the clean diesels start rolling in? Over at Motor Trend, Angus Mackenzie just blogged about driving an Audi A4 TDI, and after some pretty hard thrashing, still got a respectable 34 mpg. A quote from the article: "On one 200-mile stint, I averaged – averaged – 83 mph, and got 34 mpg." He went on to say, "That’s why I think a diesel is the ideal all-arounder. You get great mileage without having to drive a penalty box. Mooching around the narrow backroads and farm tracks of the Algarve at 30-50 mph, the A4 TDI returned 47 mpg. Hustling along winding two lanes at 30-70 mph, constantly braking, shifting and accelerating, it got 33 mpg. I can’t imagine how hard you’d have to thrash this thing to get less than 30 mpg."

Clearly those mpg's are in Hybrid territory there. Interesting.

Cervus

Schmeltz:

Considering that diesel averages over $4.20 a gallon nationwide while gasoline is still at 3.62... I don't think they're going to have much of an impact. Any efficiency gains are negated by the greater fuel expense.

David

I finally joined the hybrid army last week. I purchased a used 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid. Not the most efficient hybrid out there, but still better than 95% of all vehicles out there. I am getting 28mpg in the city and 35mpg on the highway. I purchased from Boch Honda (Norwood, MA). My 1998 Toyota Camry lasted me 234,000 miles after 9.75 years of use.

I had inquired from Boch Toyota (next door to Boch Honda) about the availability of new Priuses. After the April 26-27 weekend, they had ONE new Prius on the lot. Folks, this is the largest Toyota dealership in the world (their claim, not mine), and they only had one Prius after the last weekend of April. With gas prices NOT coming down, the hybrid WAITING LISTS will come back this summer.

Hybrid fan

Clean diesel is interesting for open highway driving and as such has applications for North America, but for start/stop and regen braking, you need Hybrid. There's nothing worse than being stuck in stop and go traffic, burning fuel and sucking fumes. Along with everyone else.

Karkus

Having a few diesel come out this fall won't dent the hybrid sales at all. Why?
1) People need more high MPG choices, and more choices = more people who'll find a high mpg vehicle they like
(people wanting a diesel vs hybrid are a little different)
2) The hybrid production of the most popular models is pretty much maxed out (and therefore can't really go above 3%)
3) it doesn't sound like the volumes of TDIs coming this fall will be very big (probably not big enough to meet demand)

DS

Schmeltz:
The Motor Trend article is BS. How many people drive 200 miles at 83mph.....in the USA. I'm sure the Audi A4 TDI is great on the Autobahn. On America's congested roads, the Prius is "The Car to Beat".

sola

Clean diesels can hardly be called clean when you compare them to gasoline hybrids.

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