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Hybrids in Japan Grabbed 12% New Vehicle Market Share in May

Nikkei. Hybrids represented 12% of new light-duty vehicle sales—excluding minicars—in Japan in May, according to figures from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

With a total of 21,601 units sold, this was the first time that the monthly new vehicle share of hybrids topped 10%. By comparison, in the US hybrids represented 2.8% of new vehicle sales for the month, with 25,693 units reported sold. (Earlier post.)

Toyota’s Prius topped the May sales rankings with 10,915 units. Honda’s Insight hybrid came in third with sales of 8,183 units. (Earlier post.)

After staying at around 4% since last year, the domestic market share of hybrid vehicles began rising gradually following the launch of the Insight in February. The introduction of eco-vehicle tax breaks in April and the release of the new-generation Prius in May further lifted the market share. With back orders already exceeding 130,000 units, sales of the new Prius should remain high for some time.

The number of minicars in the top 10 overall sellers fell to four in May from five in April. This likely occurred because the eco-vehicle tax breaks nudged buyers toward compact cars that qualify for the incentive program.



How much are rebates and how much $/G is gas in Japan?

I wonder if Toyota and Honda are fuelling hybrid sales by fighting for top hybrid sales glory in Japan (by reducing "out-the-door" prices)?
And if the US is to follow suit (12%+ market penetration) how do we do it?

Is the time ripe?


I would watch Prius and Insight sales in the U.S. during this down market. If they sell well now, they should sell better after a recovery. I would like to make them FFV as well. I costs very little and increases the fleets that could use cellulose E85, when available.

Roger Pham

1) Unfortunately, current gasoline prices in the USA are still too low to promote high market penetration of HEV, PHEV and BEV.

2) And yet, the US government is going to run trillion-dollar budget deficit in the coming years, and desperately needs a new source of revenue.

Putting 1) and 2) together, it is plainly obvious that gasoline tax has got to go up and up, but gradually enough so that the people can prepare for it with their proper choice of vehicles.

As gasoline tax go up, consumption will go down, and so will be the price of a barrel of oil from OPEC. So, instead of sending money to OPEC, our people will be sending more money to our government to help pay off the huge debt burden from cripling budget deficit. The US government can bail out GM, but who will bail out the US government from bankruptcy?

BTW, I think that the Ford Fusion Hybrid is too heavy and too expensive from being too powerful. Ford should have used the Focus chassis and build a new sheet metal body for a lighter and less-expensive dedicated hybrid but as large as a Fusion. Then and only then can it compete profitably in the HEV market.


I favor a 10% oil import fee. Sure the consumer pays eventually anyway, but if you want to reduce imports and spur domestic production, that is the way to do it.

The Fusion hybrid was like the Escape hybrid. Mostly the same components and design, which could have been done years ago. It competes with the Camry and Altima hybrids and thus is the right choice of platforms in this case.


If we are looking for a way to have a steady increase in efficiency incentives, I have long been talking about a 5¢/month increase in fuel taxes over a 5-year period.  That would come to $3/gallon after 5 years, but with plenty of time for people to adjust their purchases and habits.

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