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US Hybrid Sales in February Drop 29%; Lower Decline Than General LDV Market

Reported sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported sales of light-duty hybrids in the US dropped 29% by volume in February year-on-year to 16,020 units. The decline in hybrids was less than the 41% decline in the overall light-duty vehicle market for the month. New hybrid sales represented 2.3% of the new vehicle market, essentially flat with the January 2009 results. In February 2008, hybrids held 1.9% of the new vehicle sales for the month.

Toyota. Toyota posted 7,232 units of the Prius, down 33.6% by volume year-on-year. Camry Hybrid sold 2,080 units, down 49.5% from the year before, and representing 10.1% of all Camry models sold. Sales of the non-hybrid Camry dropped 39.8% to 18,554 units. The Highlander Hybrid sold 956 units, down 50.7%, representing 19.1% of all Highlander models sold. Sales of the non-hybrid Highlander dropped 54.1% to 4052 units.

Monthly new vehicle market share for reported hybrids. Click to enlarge.

The Rx 400h represented a bright spot, with sales up 30.8% by volume to 1,502 units, representing 24.2% of all Rx models sold. Sales of the non-hybrid Rx were down 18.8%. The GS 450h posted 22 units, a 71.4% by volume year-on-year, representing 3.7% of all GS models. The LS 460h L also sold 22 units for an 80.4% drop, representing 3.1% of all LS models sold.

General Motors. GM came in second for total hybrid sales in the month, with 1,807 units sold. The Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade two-mode full-size SUVs posted a combined 632 units, representing 8.4% of combined model sales. The two-mode Sierra pickup joined the Silverado two-mode pickup for 47 units representing 0.2% of combined sales for all models of the two trucks. The Saturn VUE hybrid posted 188 units, for 6.4% of all VUEs sold. The Chevy Malibu Hybrid posted 197 units for 1.7% of all Malibus sold. The Saturn Aura posted 23 units, representing 1.5% of all Auras sold.

Annual new vehicle market share for reported US hybrids, including 2009 year-to-date. Click to enlarge.

Honda. Honda posted 1,362 units of the Civic Hybrid, down 24.7% year-on-year, and representing 8.7% of all Civics sold. Sales of the non-hybrid Civics fell 34.9% to 14,325 units.

Ford. Combined sales of the Escape and Mariner hybrids fell 25.8% to 1,294 units in February, representing 11.2% of combined Escape and Mariner sales. Sales of the non-hybrid Escape and Mariner fell 47.8% to 10,304 units.

Nissan. Nissan reported 463 units of the Altima Hybrid sold, a 12.5% drop year-on-year, representing 2.9% of all Altima models sold. Sales of the non-hybrid Altimas dropped 32%.


Adam H

Nice work. The last graph is a nice addition.

I think the new Lexus RX 450h is now on sale.


Plenty of mention and graphs about how hybrid sales have dropped; no word on how conventional auto sales have plummetted in this recession... maybe we need a comparible graph of both in percentage of sales.

paul in hampden

I had said this about a year ago, that GM would beat Honda in hybrid sales and technology and now they have. While I do not love GM's hybrids and they are no where near Toyota they are more advanced then Honda's. Do I think GM makes better cars then Honda? Nope.

Honda is going to strike back and re-gain #2 with the Insight but that is in sales numbers not technology. IMA is now dated and could have far more electric HP without much cost.

Adam H

I think that each automaker has a valuable contribution to the hybrid idea.

Toyota and Ford are very similar in their two mode systems. GM has their own two mode hybrid in addition to the BAS system. Honda has the fifth generation IMA with the new Insight.

None of these technologies necessarily trump another, but they are all different in strengths and well suited for their applications.

paul in hampden

Its hard to call the IMA system from Honda a 5'th generation system. While weight and cost are certainly down performance is basically unchanged with HP ranging from 13hp to 20hp.

Its not as advanced as the very first (Japan only) Prius from more then a decade ago. The only systems less advanced currently offered in the US are the GM BAS offerings.

Adam H


That's just it, weight and cost are down. Performance relative to weight and cost has increased with each generation. IMA is not as advanced as the Prius system, but it serves an entirely different price point. That is the beauty of a free market.

If you really boil down the Honda IMA, though, it's not much different than the GM BAS-II system due out shortly.


Honda IMA is cost effective. Lots of people look at a $5000 price premium for a hybrid and say that it is not worth it. Once you can get a hybrid below $20k, the view of those vehicles changes. I think that the first company to bring out a roomy hybrid that gets over 40 mpg and cost less than $20k will do well.


The not-to-shabby
New Honda Insight
.. in Japan in February,
Edges Out Prius
.. Green Car Congress 6 Mar 09


GM could put a BAS+ system on a car like the Cobalt and get the price down. If the idea is to get people buying your brand again, offering a value is a good way to start.


GM is #2 w/ 1,807 units? Is this correct?
Cuz if I'm not mistaken, GM seems to be #4 w/ 1,087 units instead of 1,807.
(632 + 47 + 188 + 197 + 23 = 1,087)


PLUS, it makes sense only when GM's sales volume is 1,087 since 11,814 + '1,087' + 1,362 + 1,294 + 463 = 16,020.
That takes GM to #4, rather than #2.


The Hondaphiles come out of the closet to love their ancient and laughable IMA technology.

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