GM Evaluating Offers for Saturn; Fiat Eyeing GM Europe in Addition to Chrysler
NYPD Adds 40 Altima Hybrid Patrol Cars to Fleet

US Hybrid Sales Down 45.5% in April

Us hybrid sales 2009.04.01
Monthly US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported sales of hybrids in the US reported by Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM and Nissan dropped 45.5% year-on-year in April to 21,735, despite full month sales for the new Honda Insight and the Ford Fusion and Milan hybrids. Total LDV sales in the US were down 34.4%. (Earlier post.)

The reported sales represented a 2.65% hybrid new vehicle market share (based on Autodata’s total LDV sales figure)—the highest monthly new vehicle share for hybrids so far this year, but below the 3.2% high mark in April 2008. Year-to-date in 2009, hybrids are holding a 2.4% new vehicle market share.

Us hybrid sales 2009.04.02
Hybrid monthly new vehicle market share. Click to enlarge.

Toyota. Overall, Toyota saw a 62.8% drop year-on-year in its combined hybrid sales in April 2009. Year-to-date US sales of Toyota hybrids through April are down 51% to 49,660 units from 101,334 for the same period last year.

In advance of the market introduction of the new 2010 Prius, Toyota Prius sales dropped 61.5% in April to 8,385 units from 21,757. Other results:

  • Sales of the Camry Hybrid were down 67.1% to 2,198 units, representing 8.7% of Camry sales. Sales of conventional Camry models were down 31%.

  • Sales of the Highlander Hybrid were down 63.8% to 933 units, representing 16.7% of Highlander sales. Sales of conventional Highlander models were down 37%.

  • Sales of the RX 400h Hybrid were down 59.7% to 655 units, representing 10.5% of RX sales. Sales of conventional RX models were up 1%.

  • Sales of the GS450h were down 59.8% to 33 units, representing 7.1% of GS sales. Sales of conventional GS models were down 71%.

  • Sales of the LS 600h L were down 84.4% to 19 units, representing 2.5% of LS sales. Sales of the conventional LS models were down 60%

Us hybrid sales 2009.04.03
Hybrid component of brand sales. Click to enlarge.

Honda. With the first full month of sales of the Insight, Honda moved up to the number two slot behind Toyota, with 5,457 units sold. The Insight sold 2,096 units in April, and pushed combined Honda hybrid sales up 25% year-on-year. In April 2008, Honda had the Civic Hybrid on sale as well as the low-selling Accord Hybrid (25 units in April 2008).

Honda sold 3,361 Civic Hybrids in April, down 22.3% year-on-year, and representing 12.8% of all Civics sold. Sales of conventional Civic models were down 23% in April.

Ford. The addition of the new Fusion and Milan hybrids pushed combined Ford hybrid sales to 2,299 units, up 21% compared to April 2008. Ford posted 1,134 units of the Escape and Mariner Hybrids, down 40.5% year-on-year, and representing 7.3% of Escape and Mariner sales. Sales of conventional Escape and Mariner models were down 13% year-on-year.

Us hybrid sales 2009.04.04
OEM hybrid sales as a percentage of total LDV sales. Click to enlarge.

The new Fusion and Milan hybrid sedans sold a combined 1,165 units, representing 5.7% of all Fusion and Milan sales in April. Sales of conventional models of the Fusion and Milan climbed 3% year-on-year in April.

GM. General Motors sold 1,534 hybrids in April, comprising:

  • 523 units of the two-mode SUVs (Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade), representing 4.5% of combined sales of those models
  • 95 units of the two-mode pickups (Silverado, Sierra), representing 0.27% of sales of those models
  • 547 units of the Malibu hybrid, representing 3.7% of Malibu sales
  • 338 units of the Saturn VUE hybrid, representing 11.3% of VUE sales
  • 31 units of the Saturn Aura hybrid, representing 1.7% of Aura sales

Nissan. Nissan sold 222 units of the Altima hybrid in the US in April, down 72.3% year-on-year, representing 1.8% of Altima sales. Sales of the conventional Altima models were down 46%.



I think this data only becomes information once it has a context.

When the 2010 Prius has been selling for 2 or 3 months, we'll get a better idea whether hybrid buyers were just holding off until the new and improved model came out, or if something else was at play.

I'm betting higher summer gas prices and the new Prius will kick start sales again.


ENOUGH with the traffic seeking NEGATIVE headlines!

Make it clear the propaganda mascaraing as a report is comparing April 2009 with the biggest recession in 40 years in full swing with April 2008 when fuel prices were setting weekly records and oil was heading for $150 a barrel. It's a ridiculous comparison to make OUT OF CONTEXT.

WHY haven't you made the headline “Hybrids reach 2.65% of new car sales, up from....” ??


I personally think this is a sign that people when faced with economic realities are realizing that the premium for hybrids does not contain enough value to offset the opportunity cost of the funds used to buy these vehicles. A wise decision in my opinion.


"Ford posted 1,134 units of the Escape and Mariner Hybrids, down 40.5% year-on-year, and representing 7.3% of Escape and Mariner sales."

I look at this in that way. The Escape hybrids on the lots here are all well over $30k each with some in the $33k region. You can get a base 4 cylinder model for about $23k. Paying an extra $8k when it is tough to make the payments, but you need a new family vehicle is hard to do.

fred schumacher

Hybrid technology is a methodology, not an end. The desirable end is reduced energy consumption.

Consumers are changing their habits. They are no longer willing to bear the debt burden they have had in the past. Since purchase cost and interest make up the greatest share of total vehicle operating cost, consumers are making rational decisions in avoiding the higher initial cost of hybrids.

This pattern is a warning to manufacturers that the old days are over. A Fiat 500 Multiair that has a similar fuel economy as a Prius but at half the cost is the type of vehicle that consumers will be looking for in the future.

Will S

When gas prices skyrocket again in the next 1-2 years, those people who recently decided to buy a vehicle without appreciable fuel economy will wonder what hit them and who put them in such a precarious position. They won't realize every time they pull into a self-serve pump, that they should read the sign as "self-inflicted".

We have only two modes — complacency and panic.
—James R. Schlesinger, the first energy secretary, in 1977, on the country's approach to energy


Does anyone know where I can get the raw data behind this anaylsis? I'm looking for a breakdown of hybrid car sales over time, by model and hopefully by state.

The comments to this entry are closed.