Nissan Releases New Clean Diesel X-TRAIL 20GT in Japan
Honda to Reveal Concept Version of New Insight Hybrid at Paris Show

US Sales of Hybrids Up 3.6% Year-on-Year in August 2008

Monthly sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported US sales of hybrids from the major automakers rose 3.6% in August 2008 compared to the same month the year before to 26,045 units. This represented a 2.08% new vehicle market share for the month, on total light duty vehicles sales of 1,249,793 units, as reported by Autodata. The August 2008 results fell short of the current August sales record of 26,249 units hit in 2006.

Overall, sales of light-duty vehicles in the US fell 15.5% in August 2008, with sales of passenger cars dropping by 7.7% to 628,947 units, while light truck sales plunged 22.1% to 620,846 units from the year before. (Earlier post.)

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

Toyota. Toyota’s total hybrid sales dropped 3.7% in August compared to the year-before. Sales of the Prius were down 4.2% to 13,463 units, challenged by limited availability, according to Toyota. Camry Hybrid reported August sales of 3,456 units, a 19.3% drop from August 2007, and representing 7.8% of all Camry sales. Combined sales of all versions of the Camry increased 3.3% in August 2008 to 44,064 units from the year before. Sales of the Highlander Hybrid hit 1,227 units in August, up 224.6% from the year before, representing 15.2% of all Highlander sales. Total Highlander sales dropped 15.2% in the month, to 8,070 units.

The Lexus Rx 400h posted 1,277 units in August, up 9.0% from the year before, for 14.2% of all RX model sales. Sales of all RX models dropped 10.6% in the month to 8,969 units. The GS 450h sold 35 units, down 73.1% from last August, representing 2.1% of all GS model sales. Sales of all GX models were down 20.3% from the year before to 1,720 units. The high end LS 600h sold 71 units, a 73.4% drop from last year, representing 4.0% of all LS model sales. Sales of all LS models were down 44% to 1,772 units.

On the conventional vehicle front, Yaris reported sales of 9,474 units for the month, up 20.5% over the year-ago month. The full-size SUV Sequoia posted sales of 3,195 units for the month, up 86.1% over the same period last year.

Hybrids as a component of model sales. Click to enlarge.

Honda. Sales of the Civic Hybrid rose 47.7% year-on-year to 3,105 units in August 2008. That represented 10.3% of all Civics sold. Total Civic model sales rose 5.3% in the month to 30.052 units.

The Accord Hybrid sold 2 units in August, a 99.3% decrease from the year before, and representing 0.005% of all Accord sales. Total Accord sales dropped 7.9% to 43,613 units.

Honda will unveil a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle—to be named Insight, after Honda’s first, and since cancelled, hybrid—at the 2008 Paris Motor show.

Ford. Combined sales of the Ford Escape and Mariner hybrids dropped 27% in August year-on-year to 1,338 units, representing 8.0% of all Escape and Mariner sales. Combined sales of all models of the Escape and Mariner rose 11.7% in August to 16,634 units, with Escape leading the way with a 17.3% increase to 14,025 units.

Hybrid component of total OEM sales. Click to enlarge.

Nissan. The Nissan Altima Hybrid posted 442 units in August, a decrease of 31.3% from the year before, and representing 1.7% of all Altima sales. Sales of all Altima models dropped 0.5% in August to 25,298 units.

GM. GM continued to gain some momentum with its hybrid sales, and nudged past Nissan in terms of hybrid percentage of its total light-duty vehicle sales—0.5% to Nissan’s 0.4%.

Sales of the two-mode Tahoe, Yukon and now Cadillac Escalade reached 798 units in August, representing 5% of combined sales of all models in those lines. The vast majority of that was in the Tahoe/Yukon vehicles—the Cadillac Escalade two-mode hybrid posted 1 unit. Overall, combined sales of Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade SUVs were down 24% in August year-on-year.

Sales of the Saturn VUE with GM Hybrid System (GHS, Belt-Alternator-Starter) were 417 units in the month, representing 4.3% of VUE sales. Total VUE sales rose 46.1% to 9,649 units. Sales of the Malibu with GHS reached 388 units in the month, for 2.5% of all Malibu sales. Total Malibu sales were up 8.4% to 15,618 units. The Saturn Aura with GHS posted 26 units, for 0.6% of Aura sales. Total Aura sales dropped 31.2% in the month to 4,671 units.



Very small numbers although the increase in VUE sales by 46% is encouraging.


The numbers have not been relevant for months. Almost all the hybrids have been on back-order and people have been sitting on waiting lists. When people can't get the hybrids the way they want, they simply buy something else, like the Smart.

Max Reid

For the last 4 months sales of Prius is declining and Toyota says scarcity. Looks fishy. Is it because batteries are scarce.

All other automakers are selling less Hybrids when gas prices are high. Seems the prices of Hybrids were increased by everyone.

GM - a late starter is progressing and have 6 Hybrids, same as that of Toyota, though in sales, its very low.


"is it because batteries are scarce" No

Toyota announced a couple of months ago that the # of Prius for this year would not change, even though they knew there would be shortages. They did not want to spend money tooling up for the old model when a new model is in the works.

Escape/Mariner hybrids are hard to find, Ford just isn't building very many yet.

Eddie Rowe

"For the last 4 months sales of Prius is declining and Toyota says scarcity. Looks fishy. Is it because batteries are scarce."

YES, it is because batteries are scarce. I posed this EXACT question to a Toyota EXECUTIVE at HybridFest and this was his reply.



Sounds like the company line, wasn't us, it's someone elses fault. What did you expect him to say 'Yea we really scrxxxd the pooch on this one'. I mean it's not like every expert was saying oil would be $150 a barrel or Prius sales hadn't doubled every year for 3 strait years or anything.

Bike Commuter Dude

Potential hybrid buyers fall into four groups.

1)Those who want a hybrid, and can afford one. (Forward thinking people, government, commercial fleets, professional geeks). These are the constituents of the statistics posted each month.

2)Those who want a hybrid, but cannot afford one. (College students, the working poor, most of America's middle class)

3)Those who do not want a hybrid, but could afford it.(Republicans/SUV drivers)

4)Those who do not want a hybrid, and cannot afford one.
(Luddites, Baby Boomer retirees, homeless)


"Combined sales of the Ford Escape and Mariner hybrids dropped 27% in August year-on-year to 1,338 units..."

When you can not find an Escape hybrid on a lot or the base price is $26,500 but the sticker price is $36,000 plus, I do not think you will sell very many.

Maybe that is part of the plan. Bring them in looking for the hybrid, they see the price and by a regular Escape.

"Escape leading the way with a 17.3% increase to 14,025 units."

If that is the plan, it is a poor one. People will remember that Toyota and Honda are the hybrid companies and Ford will continue to lose market share over all.

The problem with the sale of hybrid cars is that the government is not rewarding fuel economy. Charge $20 every year for each mpg below 30 mpg, pay $20 per year for every mpg above 30 mpg. Make this system permanent so that both can companies and the general population have long term insentives to produce and purchase these vehecles and as time goes by, set the break even point higher and higher to continuously promote higher fuel efficiencies.


It has been pointed out that CAFE does not take into account miles driven. A 15 mpg car running 10,000 miles per year uses the same fuel as a 30 mpg car running 20,000 miles per year. The 30 mpg car has more utility however.

Maybe we need a form of rationing. I know the word is harsh, but if you were to allowed each registered vehicle owner a certain amount of fuel each week, then they would be careful how they used it. Since the fuel usage is so large and inaction has gone on so long, we may be faced with some options in the future that most people would not prefer.


As high gas price becomes a global phenomenon, I expect demands for Toyota's HEV rise too in markets outside of US, i.e. Japan, Europe, Canada. Therefore the allotment of Prius for US needs to compete with thoses for other markets. Does my guess make sense at all?

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