|Monthly reported sales of hybrids in the US. Click to enlarge.|
Reported sales of hybrids in the US dropped 8.9% by volume to 20,836 units in September 2008 year-on-year—the lowest September sales volume since 2005. Overall sales of light duty vehicles in the US in September dropped 26.6% year-on-year. (Earlier post.) September 2008 had 24 selling days, compared to 25 selling days last September. Hybrids had a 2.2% new vehicle market share for the month.
Toyota. September sales of the Prius dropped 13% to 10,873 from the year prior on continuing limited availability. Sales of the Camry Hybrid were down 33.6% to 2,785 units year-on-year, representing 9.4% of all Camry models sold in the month. Total Camry sales were down 27% by volume to 29,486 units from the year before. Sales of the Highlander Hybrid rose substantially year-on-year to 921 units, up from 193 in September 2007. Hybrids represented 16.1% of all Highlander sales. Total Highlander sales dropped 30% to 5,729 units.
|Monthly new vehicle market share for hybrids. Click to enlarge.|
The Lexus Rx400h posted 744 units, a drop of 24% from the year before, representing 16.0% of all Rx models sold. Total Rx sales were down 40% to 4,639 units. The high-end LS 600h hybrid sold 47 units, a 76% drop from the year before, and representing 3.8% of all LS models sold. LS sales dropped 58% to 1,238 units. The GS 450h sold 29 units, a 60% drop, representing 3.0% of all GS models sold. GS sales dropped 41% to 977 units.
Asked about the on-going limited availability of the Prius that has affected sales for months, a Toyota spokesperson said:
We continue to work closely with our supply base to find ways to increase production and supply, but demand for Prius is just far ahead of the production capacity right now. The current lack of Prius in the pipeline is due to a product plan based on our overall production limitations at the Prius factory. We are currently running at full capacity and have been for two years.
We said all along that we’d have a ceiling of 170K for Prius in the US this year. [Prius sales in the US through September are 130,563 units.] With production capacity capped, we matched that number with the production of key components, such as hybrid transaxles, control modules and batteries. To the point, the shortage in Prius is not just batteries, but a well-orchestrated, highly-efficient production system.
Given the market shifts, we’re working to right-size our inventory and build to meet market needs. Through our joint venture with Panasonic Energy EV, we’re working to significantly expand hybrid battery production, with plans for 1 million battery supply at the start of the 2010s.
We’re also adjusting our production mix at our US plants, including building Prius in Mississippi in late 2010 to stay in line with market demands. We believe that with these adjustments, we will be in a better position to respond to demand.
|Hybrids as a component of brand sales. Click to enlarge.|
Honda. Sales of the Civic Hybrid dropped 3.4% to 2,020 units in September, representing 9.4% of all Civic models sold. Civic sales dropped 13% by volume to 21,577 units. There were no posted sales of the Accord hybrid this month.
Ford. Combined sales of the Escape and Mariner hybrids were down 40% in September to 990 units, representing 8.9% of total combined sales of the two. Total Escape and Mariner sales were down 20% to 11,133 units.
Nissan. Nissan sold 470 units of the Altima hybrid, down 38% from the year prior, and representing 2.9% of all Altimas sold. Total Altima sales were down 42.4% to 16,043 units.
GM. Combined sales of the two-mode hybrid Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade SUVs reached 1,101 units, representing 8.8% of total sales of those three vehicles. The Saturn VUE hybrid sold 443 units for 5.6% of VUE sales; the Malibu hybrid posted 382 units, representing 1.9% of all Malibu sales; and the Saturn Aura posted 31 units, representing 0.5% of all Aura sales.