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Reported US Sales of Hybrids Up 11.4% in October Year-on-Year; 2.9% New Vehicle Share for the Month

Us hybrid sales 2009.10.1
Reported US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Reported US sales of hybrids in October 2009 rose 11.4% by volume to 24,475 units, representing a 2.9% share of reported new vehicle sales for the month. October 2009 had 28 selling days, while October 2008 had 27. All comparisons here are by total volume, not by daily selling rate.

Reported hybrid sales include those from Toyota, Ford, Honda, GM and Nissan; Mercedes-Benz is not breaking out sales of its new S400 Hybrid. (Total S-Class sales in October were 1,124 units.)

Us hybrid sales 2009.10.2
Monthly new vehicle market share for reported hybrid sales. Click to enlarge.

Overall light-duty vehicle sales were essentially flat in October, according to figures from Autodata, with 838,052 units sold compared to 838,156 units in October 2008. The SAAR in October 2009 was 10.46 million, up from 9.22 million in September 2009, and down slightly from 10.82 million in October 2008.

Toyota. Toyota posted a total of 18,757 hybrid units, a 15% increase by volume year on year, and representing 12.3% of its sales in October. Toyota’s overall sales were essentially flat: 152,165 in October 2009 vs. 152,101 in October 2008.

  • Prius posted 13,496 units, up 14.3% year-on-year
  • Camry Hybrid posted 1,407 units, down 49.6% y-o-y and representing 4.7% of all Camry sales
  • Highlander Hybrid posted 700 units, down 31.5% y-o-y, for 11.7% of Highlander sales
  • The RX Hybrid posted 1,567 units, up 154.8% y-o-y, for 18.8% of RX sales
  • The GS Hybrid posted 39 units, up 77.3% y-o-y, for 7.9% of GS sales
  • The LS Hybrid posted 21 units, down 61.8% y-o-y, for 2.6% of LS sales
  • The new HS Hybrid posted 1,527 units.
Us hybrid sales 2009.10.3
Reported hybrid sales as a percentage of total new light vehicle sales by automaker, October 2009. Click to enlarge.

Ford. Ford Motor sold 2,282 hybrid units in October 2009, a 14.3% increase from October 2008. Overall sales of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands increased 2.6% to 132,483 units in the month.

Sales of the hybrid crossovers (Escape and Mariner) were down 52.5% to 949 units, representing 6.3% of total Escape and Mariner sales. The new car hybrids (Fusion and Milan) posted 1,333 units, representing 8.9% of total Fusion and Milan sales.

Honda. Honda reported sales of 1,978 hybrids in October, up 21.9% year-on-year. Total sales were down 0.4% to 85,502 units.

Sales of the Civic Hybrid dropped 85.3% year-on-year to 239 units, for 1.5% of all Civic sales. The new Honda Insight hybrid sold 1,739 units.

General Motors. General Motors reported a total of 1,159 hybrids sold in October 2009, a 22.5% drop from October 2008. Total GM light-duty vehicles sales rose 4.7% to 176,632 units. (This was the company’s first year-on-year sales gain since January 2008.)

Nissan. Nissan posted sales of 299 Altima Hybrids in October, a 46% drop year-on-year, representing 2% of all Altimas sold. Overall, Nissan sales increased 5.6% to 60,115 units.



The only major hybrid seller is still Toyota with 12.3% of it's total USA sales. Other manufacturers do less than 3% and their average is closer to 1% of their total sales.

Will the other manufacturers catch up with Toyota soon?

Will Toyota increase their hybrid sales much higher than the current 12.3% level in 2010?

Are stats available by hybrid category:

1) Mild, GM style hybrids
2) HEVs
3) PHEVs
4) BEVs.


At 3% of total - is there any catching up to be done? - except batteries need to become cheaper.

It is not likely that more brands of hybrids will increase the 3% by much, Honda is still trying.

Who wants to invest billions to wrest some of that 3% from Toyota ?
- GM is in the on deck circle; (with a EREV)
Good luck with that.


Toppa, can you elaborate?
Obviously the way the market in hevs phevs and bevs is starting to take off, It would be very foolish to not acknowledge the auto industries future prospects.

Likely not very good if they adopting your approach.

Carlos Fandango

I feel a bit sad, but it puts real customer demand for BEV's in perspective.

We need peak oil or $2/gallon tarrif, otherwise it will be business as usual.


I mean that I believe:
1. The Prius has been available for 10 years - total EV sales in the US STILL fail to exceed 3%
- and 3% does not represent anything like a real takeoff,
- and $4/g gas did not help much,
- nor did cash for clunkers

So, more models (there are actually quite a few now) are unlikely to increase sales noticeably until batteries are a lot cheaper and/or gas is a lot more expensive.

2. It makes no economic sense for any car maker to make more EVs; they won’t sell.

3. It makes no social sense for any car maker to make more EVs; they won’t sell.

4. It makes no cost reduction sense to make more EVs; they won’t sell, so the batteries won’t sell so there will be no “economy of scale” to help reduce battery prices.

5. It makes no future planning sense to make more EVs now ; it provides no significant “jump” on the competition. BYD and Nissan (Leaf) appear to have no problem starting up – the delay that there is now, seems to be growing and is probably due to battery cost.

6. It does not make us very happy to see more EVs “coming soon” when nothing happens; Batteries are too costly and gas is too cheap.

When, and only when, the cost ratio of batteries-to-gas drops radically, the auto makers will see it coming and they will fill one end of the pipeline with all types and sizes of EVs and buyers will suck them out the other. If there is a dearth of EVs at the dealers, it will be short.

We need peak oil or $2/gallon tarrif, AND cheap batteries, otherwise it will be business as usual.


I can understand that much better. Sadly the main point I agree with is the unspeakable taxation issue. The most politically unpalatable but likely the most effective. Most people would go to the end of the earth to avoid unnecessary tax penalties and that is often exactly where they send the black money.

I wonder how a high tax disincentive on say fossil fuels:

A; affects the less developed economies assuming they are internally generated revenue raising devices. Presumably not at all.

B; So some emerging economies may wish to give comparative advantage through a low tax incentive.

C; If (as suggested by AlGore) taxation is combined with the internationally relevant cap and trade scheme, in various combination, then international carrots,sticks on the basis of carbon emission that sounds like it would work.

D; Of course there are those whose only interest in the whole CO2 debate is to buck the science, and ordinarily known as globalwarming sceptics.

Your points 2,3 and 6 are sensible comments however it is difficult to sell any new technology as most consumers wait and see how it will work in practice.
With the limited choice unlikely to change in auto alley in the short term, there is a circularity to the argument. Again, from a low carbon (or renewable energy) perspective, without large integration into a smarter grid, many will argue that there are no savings either economic or environmental.
I must agree to that view.
That some may be in position to supply their own resource is irrelevant to the govt's as they are looking at the realities that can meet the needs of the whole country.
That must also be realistic and achievable I don't believe the economics are the overriding issue but will play its part in prioritising .

Again we face a circular argument. That that is the present state, does not mean it is desirable or sustainable and I believe the facts and figures are substantially in. There is no palatable long term option and procrastination is not a palatable situation unless you are making lots of money doing nothing.

People are very accepting of change once the decision is made and I would again suggest that the numbers are pretty well crunched that support the viability of the economic and technological models.

These numbers are not just hot air, the technology is well past the concept stage, they are becoming a reality.

If you had asked me 5 years ago, I would have been quite (reasonably?) very doubtful.

We are now seeing the commitment from reputable business, tertiary education, many leading developed country officials etc and despite much perception amongst the public that the difficulties are larger than the return, I suggest again that people will be glad to see elected representatives acting.

In a short few tears, they will forget there ever was an issue. New ways of doing things will become the norm and hopefully humanity will be getting on with the next issues likely to be demanding action over the next decades.


Like all new technologies, electrified vehicle technology will take 2 to 3 decades to impose itself, become common place and replace the older preceding technology.

Regarless of the current objectors, various forms of electrified vehicles (HEVs-PHEVs-BEVs) will invade the world market during the coming decade.

By 2020, many will be driving various sizes of PHEVs and BEVs. By 2030, our children or grandchildren may have to visit a museum to see an ICE V-8 vehicle that their gradparents were addicted to.

The days of the mechanical ICE monsters may be numbered.


I think right now the main driving force for people avoiding new cars right now beyond lack of money and fear of the future and just plain lack of understanding is the one most powerful force in human nature.

All the people we hate will suffer if we just wait and do nothing.. and watching them fall is far more rewarding then any new car or truck or diamond ring. Loathing has brought us together.

John L.

Well, I see one encouraging trend. It's smaller than I would like, but still positive.

Gasoline is about $1.00/gallon cheaper this year as compared to last year. Still, the percentage of all vehicles sold which were hybrids climbed significantly. It was barely over 2 percent last year, and this year it's close to 2.5%, with two months left to go.

Like many other people who post here, I would like to see a petroleum tax in the United States -- both to cover the huge costs of the hidden subsidies to petroleum users, and to encourage a reduction in petroleum use. Hybrid technology would surely benefit.

That tax is probably a political non-starter for a while, because of the recession. After the Federal Reserve feels it is safe to start raising interest rates again, we should talk about a petroleum tax. I suggest phasing it in -- say, $3.00 per barrel every three months for two years, and then see what happens from there.


I agree arnold, we need, but apparently most people do not want high gas taxes (but I am not sure what you mean about sending black money). Yes, maybe we can phase it in.
Have the politicians tested the water on this lately?

I believe you miss the point when you say that it is difficult to sell any new technology because most consumers wait and see how it will work in practice.

I think it is unfortunate but true that the hybrids sell only 3% because they are not fiscally sound, not because people are afraid of them. Almost everyone wants to save money and are not afraid of new technology – much less a technology that is 10 years old.

Many would like to make a statement with a hybrid EV, but not a $5000 statement.

I think there is no circularity – auto makers are making EVs (but they are too expensive) and buyers want EVs badly (but they are too expensive).
The batteries are too expensive, and forcing quantities into the billions or passing some law will not change that – developments on many fronts are needed and this is happening.


I dont think buyers want evs badly they just want something other then gas/diesel before they have to buy a new car.

Mainly because they want to get thier next car and tell the world to go fark itself.


"I dont think buyers want EVs badly they just want something other then gas/diesel before they have to buy a new car."

Well yes, that is more accurate.


Toppa Tom,
reference to black money a bit tongue in cheek. Referring to monies that for numerous reasons, but mostly for avoiding tax ends up in tax havens that are often located in places 'at the end of the earth'.
Various small island states etc.


Too bad we are so addicted to cheap oil, tax free options-bonus, zero interest rates, low sale taxes, high tax credits and very high deficits.

Can we continue to rely on more deficits to pay for general services? Can we continue to live on borrowed money? If we do, how long can the dollar stand at a reasonable value or will it continue its downward journey to 1/2 one Euro or less.

This may not be the ideal time to start collecting more taxes to reduce the mounting monster deficits, but it will have to be addressed sooner or latter.

There are 5 areas where increased taxes and reduced tax credits could have positive long term effects.

1) a progressive $0.02 to $0.04/gallon per month on fossil fuel for the following 100 months.

2) a progressive $2.00 to $4.00/tonne per month on GHG/CO2 emissions for the following 100 months.

3) a progressive transaction tax of 0.001% to 0.002% per month on all financial transactions for the following 100 months.

4) a progressive tax increase on all personal income above $200K/year.

5) a progressive decrease of all tax credits at the rate of -10%/year for the next 10 years.

Nobody should worry because politicians will never do it.


You cant tax someone you cant keep and we cant keep rich people.

You cant tax something like gas without lowering the burden elsewhere as in income taxes.

And no one trusts you to not bleep it up so your not gona get to do it.

Stan Peterson

Nuts to increasing fuel taxes...

Taxes raise gas prices to the equivalent of $8-$9 per gallon in the EU. So what is the sales rate of Hybrids in the EU? Is it 25 35 or 45% Hell No. It sless than in the US.

All gas taxes do is reduce consumer's disposable income, making people keep old gas guzzlers longer and prevent the adoption and benefits of new improved designs.

The evidence is in. So offer some valid proof rather than suppositions, to counter that evidence. You simply can't.


You make a very good point.

I have noticed the same low sales of hybrids in the EU but failed to fully realize it means gas taxes will not work (or at least not unless they are huge) .

This is another (at least partial) myth to avoid the uncomfortable truth that the worlds manufacturers are not making, and the PEOPLE are not buying EVs yet, because they simply don’t want them.

I think battery development to reduce prices is the key - and making more, of what is availble now, is probably not going to help much.

John L.

Wow, I went away from this discussion for a long time... anyway, Stan Peterson wrote:

"Taxes raise gas prices to the equivalent of $8-$9 per gallon in the EU. So what is the sales rate of Hybrids in the EU? Is it 25 35 or 45% Hell No. It's less than in the US. All gas taxes do is reduce consumer's disposable income, making people keep old gas guzzlers longer and prevent the adoption and benefits of new improved designs."

Wait just a minute, you ignored one huge part of the picture. What is the market penetration of MASS TRANSIT in Europe? Many, many times what it is in the United States.

I have a friend in San Francisco who just retired a 1970's BMW model 2002. It was old, and of course it got miserable gas mileage. She kept that car for over 30 years!

However: for the past twenty years, she put maybe 3,000 miles per year on that car. If she wants to travel around San Francisco, she uses the extensive light rail and bus systems.

My friend lives like a European: NOT married to her car!

I think she competes favorably with me in the Green department. I have a 2004 Prius, but I live out in the suburbs and put 12,000 miles/year on my car.

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