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US Sales of Hybrids in October Down 10%; Monthly Share Up to 2.6%

Reported US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported sales of hybrids in the US in October dropped 10% by volume to 21,979 units from 24,443 units in October. There were 27 selling days for October 2008, versus 26 days for October 2007.

However, with the overall 31.9% decline in light-duty vehicle sales in the US (earlier post) hybrids represented 2.62% of the new vehicle market for the month, up from 1.98% in October 2007. For the 10 months through October 2008, hybrids have a 2.4% share of the new vehicle market.

New vehicle sales market share for hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Toyota. Toyota reported 11,804 units of the Prius sold in October, a 10.3% drop from October 2007. The Camry Hybrid posted 2,792 units, a 20.5% drop from October 2007, and representing 9.1% of all Camry models sold. All Camry sales were down 9.4% by volume for the month, to 30,556 units. The Highlander Hybrid sold 1,022 units, up 71.5% year-on-year, and representing 14.5% of all Highlanders sold. All Highlander sales were down 26.4%.

On the Lexus side, the Rx 400h posted 615 units, a 55.8% drop from the year before, representing 11.9% of all Rx models sold. Total Rx model sales dropped 34.8% for the month year-on-year. Sales of the GS 450h dropped 69% to 22 units, for 2.7% of all GS models sold. Total GS sales declined 45.7% year-on-year. Sales of the LS 600h dropped 68.6% to 55 units, for 3.7% of all LS models sold. Total LS model sales dropped 49% year-on-year.

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

Honda. The Civic Hybrid sold 1,621 units in October, a 29.1% drop by volume from October 2007, for 8.7% of all Civic models sold. Total Civic sales were down 22% year-on-year. Honda sold one Accord Hybrid, a 99.6% decrease from the year before. Total Accord sales dropped 36% year-on-year.

Ford. Ford sold 1,997 units of the hybrid Escape and Mariner, only a 4.2% decrease from October 2007 and representing 16.9% of Escapes and Mariners sold. Total Escape and Mariner sales dropped 20% for the month.

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

GM. GM sold 795 two-mode full-size SUVs (Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade), representing 11.3% of the total combined sales of those models. The Chevrolet Malibu hybrid posted 325 units, for 3.0% of total Malibu sales. The Saturn Aura hybrid posted 22 units for 0.6% of total Aura sales. The Saturn VUE hybrid posted 354 units for 11.9% of total VUE sales.

Nissan. Nissan sold 554 units of the Altima Hybrid, a 40.2% drop year-on-year, representing 3.1% of all Altima sales. Total Altima sales were down 18.5%.

Chrysler. Chrysler has not yet delivered any of its two-mode hybrid Aspen or Durango vehicles to customers through dealers, although the vehicles are currently being shipped, according to the company.

Chrysler is positioning the hybrid Aspen and Durango as niche products that it will manufacture until the end of the year. The company says that it still plans to introduce a two-mode hybrid Dodge Ram in 2010 (MY and CY).



so are prius reductions still according to supply problems, or something else?

I would guess general market downturn hit sales of hybrids and not necessarily lack of supply. I'm sure people can come in with anecdotes specific to where they live but that won't paint the overall picture.

hybrid fan

People who just want to save money thought hybrids made sense at $4.50/gal but not $2.70/gal. For those whom cars are simply transportation, cutbacks have also been made. Many people discovered they can drive a bit less without much inconvenience. Fewer miles driven + cheaper gas = less annual cost (greater payback period).

Max Reid

Every one know that gas price decrease is temporary and will increase once the summer comes.

Hybrid sales also depends on pricing. If automakers add lot of extras and charge more, people will simply buy smaller vehicles. Even better, they will keep their existing vehicles for some more time by paying smaller amount for maintenance.

Hope the new Honda Insight makes the break and pushes sales higher.


> Every one know that gas price decrease is temporary and will increase once the summer comes.

That is false. You could say that everyone knows that the global recession will last well into next summer keeping oil prices low. Long term oil price will rebound, but that could be 2,3,4,... years later. Meanwhile most people are concerned with paying their bills today. That is why sales of *ALL* vehicles, including hybrids are down. Even Prius is not immune.

You are correct that most sales these days will be chasin cheapest cars. That is bad news for hybrids such as Prius that kept their prices relatively high.


The last 2 charts are amazing. Note that all "fake" hybrids have dropped to tiny sale levels. Even Civic Hybrid and Camry Hybrid (HSD/IMA) are tiny proportion of overall model sales! Only Prius sells in real volume.

This is an indication that minor up to 30% FE improvements over conventional cars are no longer acceptable and mild hybrids will not sell at these gas prices. Honda better get its new Insight out in large volume if it hopes to compete against Prius.

That being said, since oil/gas prices will remain low during this recession, likely well into next summer, that means even Prius is in trouble. There are plenty of cheap used cars and great deals so few will bother with Prius.


I think people buy Prii as much to make a statement as to save gas (which they certainly do).

No other hybrid says "I am green" quite as clearly as the prius, and that is why its sales have not collapsed as much as other cars (inc hybrids).

Also, most people are very short term in their thinking any will buy a car relative to today's gas price, not 3-5 years in the future (which is very hard to predict).

It will be interesting to see how well the $40K Volt sells in a ~$70 Oil environment. Most of the greens will already have a Prius, and might say "this is green enough" for now.

$40K Volt with apparently a $7500 tax incentive for the early adopters...makes it much more attractive like a $32,500 vehicle. Lower income drivers might not be as interested in the tax incentives but I'm sure the people who can afford the Volt will be interested in the tax savings.

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