April 2008 Dashboard: Hybrids Sales Defy Recession

in partnership with Polk

Hybrids Worldwide

"Top 5 global hybrid markets" based on vehicle registrations CYTD February 2008.

and "Top 5 US hybrid markets" based on vehicle registrations CYTD February 2008.

The overall vehicle market went from bad to worse in April. It marked the worst April for car sales since 1995. Yet, brisk hybrid sales showed once again that fuel-efficient gas-electric vehicles are recession-proof. Hybrid sales climbed above 3 percent of the total market for second time ever—the last time was May 2007, also a month when gas prices spiked.

When you connect the dots between the recession, the weak dollar, rising oil prices, and pain at the pumps, it adds up to an ever-increasing market share for hybrids. So far this year, hybrid sales have grown by 15 percent, while the overall market has declined by 8 percent.

Toyota continues to dominate the hybrid market. The Prius was the 11th bestselling vehicle in America—ranking in the number eight slot among passenger cars. The Prius and the Toyota Camry Hybrid are the only hybrids showing strong year-over-year growth. In April, the other hybrid producers were caught flat-footed again—with insufficient hybrid inventory and/or marketing. Despite having four hybrid models on the market, retail sales of General Motors hybrids tallied below 200 units.

US Sales

Our information is based on hybrid sales as reported by the manufacturers. For each model, this month’s sales are shown compared to sales in the previous month and at the same time last year. We also examine hybrid market share by model and manufacturer. The historical sales graph for top-selling hybrid models shows final 2007 volumes.

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (April 2008): 40,060

US hybrid sales for April 2008

Model Units vs. last month vs. April 2007 CYTD vs. CYTD 2007
Altima 801 -3.7% 65.8% 2,635 128.9%
Prius 21,757 5.4% 66.6% 64,664 22.6%
Civic 4,324 14.7% 51.5% 11,646 24.2%
Accord 25 -52.8% -92.1% 168 -86.7%
Camry 6,678 -3.6% 51.4% 19,296 23.0%
Highlander 2,578 15.1% 7.7% 8,898 3.5%
RX400h 1,624 3.4% 17.3% 5,553 3.8%
GS450h 82 26.2% -52.9% 288 -57.8%
LS600hL 122 8.0% n/a 452 n/a
Escape 1,682 -5.6% -11.0% 6,269 -4.6%
Mariner 225 -0.4% -41.6% 863 -25.6%
Vue 40* -58.8% -95.7% 208 -89.8%
Aura 4* -80.0% -90.5% 33 -17.5%
Tahoe 69* -69.3% n/a 404 n/a
Yukon 49* -78.2% n/a 369 n/a
All hybrids 40,060 3.3% 41.4% 121,746 16.3%
All vehicles 1,248,549 -8.0% -6.7% 4,827,070 -7.7%

* Retail sales only

U.S. hybrid sales for April 2008 by manufacturer and model

United States Sales by Make

U.S. hybrid market historical sales (1999 – 2007 with 2008 forecast)

United States Yearly Sales

Regional Data

Source: R. L. Polk & Co.

Curious where hybrid buyers live? We present the data in two ways. First, we list the 15 cities and states that boast the largest numbers of new hybrids on their roads within the past year. For example, residents in the New York City area put over 19,000 new hybrids on the road in 2007. Second, we adjust for population and look at hybrids per person (in states) or per household (in metro areas). This lets us include cities like Portland, OR: a city that has fewer overall vehicles (and thus fewer hybrids) but has more hybrids per capita than anywhere else.

States with the Highest Hybrid Sales

Rank State New Hybrids*
1 California 11,839
2 Florida 2,753
3 New York 2,589
4 Texas 2,508
5 Illinois 1,831
6 Arizona 1,612
7 Virginia 1,596
8 Pennsylvania 1,500
9 Washington 1,370
10 Massachusetts 1,327
11 New Jersey 1,256
12 Maryland 1,144
13 Colorado 1,061
14 Ohio 1,020
15 Minnesota 1,000

*Registrations CYTD February 2008

States where hybrids are most popular

Rank State New Hybrids per 1000 Residents*
1 District of Columbia 0.698
2 California 0.328
3 Arizona 0.271
4 Oregon 0.257
5 Nevada 0.235
6 Colorado 0.227
7 Washington 0.218
8 Connecticut 0.215
9 Vermont 0.212
10 Virginia 0.211
11 Massachusetts 0.207
12 Maryland 0.204
13 Delaware 0.204
14 Hawaii 0.201
15 Minnesota 0.195
US State Average 0.149

*Registrations CYTD February 2008

Metropolitan areas with the highest hybrid sales

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids*
1 Los Angeles 5,318
2 San Francisco 3,514
3 New York 3,045
4 Washington, DC 1,888
5 Chicago 1,469
6 Phoenix 1,408
7 Boston 1,284
8 Philadelphia 1,274
9 Seattle 1,151
10 San Diego 1,037
11 Sacramento, CA 942
12 Denver 920
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul 904
14 Dallas-Ft. Worth 816
15 Portland, OR 761

*Registrations CYTD February 2008

Metropolitan areas where hybrids are most popular

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids per 1000 Households*
1 Portland, OR 1.870
2 San Francisco 1.492
3 Santa Barbara, CA 1.159
4 Monterey, CA 1.036
5 San Diego 1.011
6 Los Angeles 0.961
7 Phoenix 0.848
8 Washington, DC 0.838
9 Charlottesville, VA 0.832
10 Las Vegas 0.756
11 Palm Springs, CA 0.715
12 Sacramento, CA 0.700
13 Helena, MT 0.697
14 Eugene, OR 0.680
15 Seattle 0.676
  US Metro Area Average 0.310

*Registrations CYTD February 2008


View Past Dashboards:
  • Russell

    I wonder why the Escape is down – could it be because Ford doesn’t want it to succeed? I went to Titus Will Ford in Tacoma, WA and asked about the Escape Hybrid. The dealer told me that they had only a used one and that I would be ‘stupid’ to buy one anyway since they’re far too expensive. He wouldn’t even talk about the hybrid except to point out that it didn’t make sense to buy it. He even refused to show me the used one they had on the lot. I left VERY disappointed in Ford.

  • Jman

    That’s cause he was just practicing SWAT. Sell Whats Available Today! I’m sure if they had 10 brand new escape hybrids on the lot, thats the one he would have been showing you.

  • tw8s

    The Dashboard words/numbers/%s disagree:
    “Sales of the Honda Civic Hybrid declined compared to last month, and to last April.”
    “Civic 4,324 14.7% 51.5% 11,646 24.2% “
    and:
    “Hybrids sold in the U.S. (April 2008): 38,611″
    “All hybrids 40,060 “
    In the “U.S. hybrid sales for April …” chart, the percentages are correct for the smaller of the two totals after adjusting the number of Civics sold downward by the difference (1449) of the two stated total units.
    The numbers stated in the KS post seem to have been applied to the Honda lines of the table without re-calculating the pie chart percentages and correcting the words about the Honda Civic.

  • Jerry

    No suprise on the best seller’s. I am curious what the production numbers are for the Ford Escape I would have thought more of them would have sold. I can’t find the amount manufactured. Does anyone have that data?

  • KS

    Not sure why my post was deleted. But anyway, as tw8s pointed out, you need to clean the errors on the pie chart, and don’t forget do the same work on the pdf download.

  • mdensch

    The reason for the lower figures for the Ford Escape Hybrid in April is because Ford was changing over to the 2009 model. There are numerous changes being made to both the regular Escape and the Hybrid for the new model year including introducing a slightly larger ICE for the hybrid and tweeks to the programming which is expected to result in slightly higher MPG figures.

    Furthermore, Russell, your experience at the Ford dealer is neither typical nor indicative of Ford’s committment to the hybrid. If you are serious about buying an Escape hybrid, go see another dealer or ask to speak to sales rep more familiar with the vehicle.

  • joe

    Its great to see the increase of hybrids, its sad to see Ford and GM sales down.

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  • iabhornc

    East your heart out, PUTRID North Carolina.
    Your wannabe ass will never make that list, you NASCAR CRAZED FUCKS :-P

  • tapra1

    The Prius and the Toyota Camry Hybrid are the only hybrids showing strong year-over-year growth. In April, the other hybrid producers were caught flat-footed againGreen News