February 2012 Dashboard

The HybridCars.com monthly sales dashboard is a collaboration of HybridCars.com and Baum & Associates, a Michigan-based market research firm focusing on automotive issues including the hybrid and electric vehicle market.

February hybrid sales spiked at two-and-a-half-times the increase of the also rising passenger vehicle market at 66.3 percent for hybrids, compared to 25.9 percent for the whole vehicle market. The proverbial rising tide raised most boats, and an overall increase in sales of hybrid, plug-in, and clean diesel vehicles was observed, with some exceptions, naturally.

Total hybrid sales of over 36,000 are at their highest level since March 2011 (35,000) and are likely to continue to rise due to increasing gas prices, improving availability, and additional models being offered. The share of total sales is 3.2 percent, which has only been exceeded by 3.3 percent in April 2008 (a time of rising fuel prices) and 3.6 percent in July 2009 (the beginning of the cash for clunkers program).

Prius sales – which Toyota lumps together for all Prius variants, and which we as of yet cannot promise to reliably break out by individual model month after month – are strong based on improved availability and the launch of the Prius V.

While exact Prius v figures are not available, our sources suggest that sales of the “regular” Prius were 16,200 in February, up 20 percent from year-ago levels. Sales of the Prius v were approximately 4,400 units, which equates to an annual rate of 40,000 to 50,000 units. Prius c (the smaller variant) is not yet on sale, but will commence this month as will the Prius Plug in vehicle.

The Camry Hybrid has been revised in concert with the launch of the new model last fall. Camry hybrid sales were 11 percent of total Camry sales in February, which is up from the 5 percent share common in the previous model run. An annual rate of 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles is possible.

Also in February, the 2013 Malibu mild hybrid launched with sales of only 350 units, with much greater volume to come. Growth in the Buick Lacrosse and Regal hybrids is also occurring.

Regarding the nascent plug-in market, sales remained modest, and availability in certain regions continues to be an issue – either too much in some instances, or not enough. In the case of the Chevrolet Volt, production was suspended in January, resumed in early February, and then, as reported, to be suspended again March 19, which, along with 1,300 temporary Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant layoffs, should last five weeks until April 23.

Current Volt models reflect two important changes: 1) a modified structure surrounding the battery pack to address perceived safety concerns, and 2) a new lower emissions version of the vehicle that will qualify California drivers for the high occupancy vehicle lane (as well as a state incentive of $1500). California is the single largest plug-in vehicle market, and GM has said it wishes to establish a stronger foothold there and now hopes this will help considering that first-year Volts were not entitled to solo occupancy HOV lane privileges.

Volt sales were back at the level achieved in October and November 2011 (before the safety issue flared). We expect sales to increase in coming months, but the larger issue is how the public responds to GM’s marketing campaign which is currently in place.

GM’s North American President, Mark Reuss was quoted by the Wall Street Journal saying despite the five-week plant closure, demand will increase once modified versions are on the road, and its marketing plus rising fuel prices will spur Volt acceptance.

“There are some really good things happening and we are going to keep that momentum,” Reuss said.”

GM has said it is committed to the car and its platform. It remains unclear however the extent to which GM will reach earlier goals of 45,000 North American sales.

It’s being said that goal was too aggressive, and to be sure, it is even more ambitious than Leaf sales goals set by Nissan which has said in 2012 it would like only twice the approximately 9,700 Leaf sales it made in 2011. If Nissan is the most bullish, and may sell 20,000 Leafs, how realistic was GM when it originally decided it expected to sell 45,000 Volts?

But despite Nissan’s reporting nationwide Leaf availability last week, the Leaf had even weaker sales in February and is still subject to supply issues. It is expected its sales will increase through the year as distribution shifts from the initial targeted locations to the entire country.

As for diesel sales, these also experienced strong growth, with the launch of the Volkswagen Passat diesel in July 2011 contributing to a strong comparison vs. last year. The Jetta diesel is holding its own, even with the launch of the somewhat larger Passat.

February 2012 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (February 2012): 36,222
Hybrid Take-Rate: 3.16%

U.S. hybrid sales for February 2012

Model Units vs. last month vs. February 2011 CYTD vs. CYTD 2011
Toyota Prius 20,589 78.2% 52.1% 32,144 33.0%
Toyota Camry 3,750 77.2% 277.6% 5,866 216.6%
Lexus CT 200h 1,640 60.0% n/a 2,665 n/a
Hyundai Sonata 1,568 20.3% n/a 2,872 n/a
Buick LaCrosse 1,248 78.0% n/a 2,029 n/a
Ford Fusion 1,110 81.7% -19.5% 1,721 -26.7%
Kia Optima 925 64.2% n/a 1,630 n/a
Lexus RX400/450h 826 9.7% -17.3% 1,579 -17.4%
Honda Insight 773 57.1% -55.1% 1,265 -61.4%
Honda Civic 741 65.0% 39.3% 1,190 0.4%
Toy. Highlander 474 30.9% -33.0% 836 -40.1%
Honda CR-Z 466 28.4% -57.3% 829 -58.2%
Ford Escape 434 25.8% -45.4% 779 -40.8%
Linc. MKZ Hybrid 419 65.6% 6.1% 672 -12.2%
Chevy Malibu Hybrid 350 0.3% 1,958.8% 351 6,920.0%
Lexus HS 250h 150 -1.3% -18.0% 302 -35.6%
Buick Regal 137 78.0 n/a 200 n/a
Porsche Cayenne 137 22.3% -3.5% 249 -29.5%
BMW Hybrid 7 60 100% 71.4% 90 34.3%
Infiniti M35h 58 65.7% n/a 93 n/a
Cad. Escalade 57 67.6% -3.7% 91 -50.8%
Chevy Tahoe 48 166.7% -33.7% 91 -50.8%
GMC Yukon Hybrid 46 91.7% -23.3% 70 -37.5%
Chevy Silverado 42 100.0% -10.6% 63 -73.6%
Porsche Panamera S 34 -12.8% n/a 73 n/a
Mercedes S400HV 28 154.5% 16.7% 39 -22.0%
Altima 22 -18.5% -94.0% 49 -93.3%
Mazda Tribute 21 -12.5% -43.2% 45 -38.4%
Lexus GS450h 20 -20.0% -39.4% 45 -13.5%
VW Touareg Hybrid 18 -50.0% -56.1% 54 -56.8%
Mercedes ML450 13 -1.2% n/a 13 1,200.0%
GMC Sierra 12 200.0% -40.0% 16 -61.0%
Lexus LS600hL 6 -25.0% -14.3% 14 -6.7%
BMW X6 0 -100.0% -100.0% 0 -100.0%
All hybrids 36,222 66.3% 55.4% 58,000 35.4%
All vehicles 1,146,159 25.9% 15.8% 2,056,357 13.8%

February 2012 Plug-in Electric Car Sales Numbers

Plug-in cars sold in the U.S. (February 2012): 1,662
Plug-in Take-Rate: 0.15%

U.S. plug-in electric sales for February 2012

Model Units vs. last month vs. February 2011 CYTD vs. CYTD 2011
Chevrolet Volt 1,023 69.7% 264.1% 1,626 170.10%
Nissan LEAF 478 -29.3% 613.4% 1,154 649.4%
BMW Active E 115 2.7% n/a 227 n/a
Mitsubishi i 44 22.2% n/a 80 n/a
Smart ED 2 n/a -90.0% 2 93.8%
All plug-in cars 1,662 16.4% 351.9% 3,089 292.0%
All vehicles 1,146,159 25.9% 15.8% 2,056,357 13.8%

February 2012 Clean Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Clean Diesels sold in the U.S. (February 2012): 9,054
Diesel Take-Rate: 0.79%

U.S. clean diesel sales for February 2012

Model Units vs. last month vs. February 2011 CYTD vs. CYTD 2011
VW Jetta 3,465 38.1% 1.8% 5,974 -5.8%
Passat Diesel 1,948 10.9% n/a 3,177 n/a
Volkswagen Golf 669 0.8% 7.2% 1,333 10.9%
Mercedes GL320 611 16.6% 60.4% 1,135 72.0%
BMW X5 607 49.1% 12.8% 1,014 -14.1%
Mercedes ML320 434 -17.6% 111.7% 961 100.2%
VW Touareg 418 5.6% 137.5% 814 135.3%
Mercedes E320 297 70.7% 83.3% 471 22.7%
Audi A3 253 -35.6% 37.5% 646 -1.4%
Audi Q7 137 -55.8% -60.1% 447 -31.5%
BMW 335d 142 -56.8% -51.0% 471 4.7%
Mercedes S350 55 59.3 n/a 118 n/a
Mercedes R320 18 -53.8% -40.1 57 -21.9
Jeep Gr Cherokee 0 n/a -100.0% -100.0%
All clean diesels 9,054 19.7% 42.9% 16,618 32.1%
All vehicles 1,146,159 25.9% 15.8% 2,056,357 13.8%

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  • alex777

    IMHO Camry is the best offer on the Hybrid cars market (tasty)!
    Camry – 1 h.p. costs 130$
    Prius – 179$
    Highlander – 138$
    On the side of Prius is affordability and popularity (the icon of efficiency), but price difference between them (cars) is only 8% and it’s so cheap i mean comfort and dynamics of camry hybrid 2012!! Price reduction on the base Camry hybrid proposal does wonders!

  • JC

    I have to laugh at the VW Touareg Hybrid. Compare it to the clean diesel Touareg. The diesel gets slightly better MPG and costs $15k less. No wonder they don’t sell many of the hybrids.

    I would like to find a hybrid or EV that speaks to me, but short of the $100k plus sports cars, they all just come across as unfulfilling. Sticking with a clean diesel Jetta for now 43+MPG highway in a car that feels like I’m driving a real car.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    With high gas coming, March and April should break the 3.6% hybrid share record… Overall sales pace of 15 million units is very high…


  • JD

    Clean Diesels like Clean Coal are a joke. The only reason they exist in Europe, because of the NOx loophole for Diesels in Europe’s emissions standards. Every single time I get behind one of these so called Clean Diesels form the German Automobile Companies, I have to recirculate my air in the 2011 Prius. The only difference in Clean Diesels and the old Dirty Diesels besides the use of low sulfur fuel, is the lack of black soot emissions. Now the emissions are colorless but still stink. The smell, carcinogenic NOX, and the Respiratory health risks are still there, just colorless. I treat the clean diesels like the Big Rig Trucks, Buses, Diesel Pick up trucks and Diesel SUVs, I try to avoid being behind them. Being behind any Diesels and breathing that air is probably like smoking a pack of cigarettes or exposing yourself to a healthy dose of 2nd hand smoke. Diesels SUCK!

  • Yegor

    Thank you for for posting the numbers promptly!

  • Yegor

    It is so exciting to see Hybrid sales to cross 3% market share!!! Wow!

    Gas price is on the way to cross US average $4 in March. The previous two times it happened Hybrids were in limited availability. Now with two more new Priuses I think we can see Hybrids crossing 4% market share in March!

  • Jeff Cobb

    Yegor – You are welcome. It’s a laborious process, but it serves a value.

  • Yegor

    Kudos to Toyota! They are doing a great job!

  • Pat Murphy

    I find this monthly report very useful. Thanks.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Pretty impressive increase by the Prius. Didn’t realize the Prius V had sold that many units this year. I know they over took Volt sales last year even though the V was only sold for last 3 months of the year. I’ve been tempted to test drive the Prius V even though it’s MPG’s are less than my current 2nd gen Prius. I have to admit though, I’ve been tempted to drive the Volt also. I wouldn’t buy one (for a few reasons that I won’t get into here), but I would test drive it just to see what all the hub-bub is about. I’d also like to test drive the Leaf, but it’s not available here yet.

  • wxman

    @ JD – do you have any data to support your “carcinogenic NOx” claim? Last I knew was that PM was the carcinogenic component of diesel exhaust, not NOx, and even that is in question.

    Preliminary results from the U.S. DOE-funded “ACES” program have shown that most lab test subjects have shown no difference in exposure to diesel exhaust from clean diesel truck engines and clean filtered control air, even after months of testing (Jake McDonald, “Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES).” Proceedings of the 2011 DEER Conference).

    Meanwhile, two just-released studies have further shown that gasoline engines emit more than just rainbows and flowers. One shows that real-world black carbon (soot) emissions from gasoline vehicles are as much as a factor of 9 higher than current estimates (John Liggio, et al (2012), “Are Emissions of Black Carbon from Gasoline Vehicles Underestimated? Insights from Near and On-Road Measurements.” Environmental Science & Technology). Another shows that gasoline engines are responsible for a vast majority of the anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols (SOA). SOA are ultrafine particles that form in the atmosphere (Bahreini, R., et al. (2012), “Gasoline emissions dominate over diesel in formation of secondary organic aerosol mass.” Geophysical Research Letters).

    Also, why is there so much concern about the NOx emissions of diesel engines (which is not even really an issue with the clean diesels), and the strange lack of concern about hydrocarbon emissions (both direct and indirect) from gasoline engines (which is still a concern with the current crop of gassers)?

  • AP

    wxman, the reason NOx are a concern in diesels is because there is so much excess oxygen during combustion, combined with high temps. But they produce very few unburned hydrocarbons (HC’s) for the same reason.

    In Europe, they realize that diesels and gasoline engines run differently, so they allow higher HC for gas engines and higher NOx for diesels.

    In the US, we have a “one size fits all” emissions standard, which makes it very difficult and expensive to produce a diesel. Bob Lutz compared it to putting a chemical plant in the exhaust system.

    I think Europe has this one right.

  • MS

    Dear wxman,

    Every pollutants are nocive, so the best approach is to reduce them.

    Low levels of nitrogen oxides in the air can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, possibly causing you to cough and experience shortness of breath, tiredness, and nausea. Exposure to low levels can also result in fluid build-up in the lungs 1 or 2 days after exposure. Breathing high levels of nitrogen oxides can cause rapid burning, spasms, and swelling of tissues in the throat and upper respiratory tract, reduced oxygenation of body tissues, a build-up of fluid in your lungs, and death.

    If you were to come into skin or eye contact with high concentrations of nitrogen oxide gases or nitrogen dioxide liquid, you would likely experience serious burns.

    We do not know if exposure to nitrogen oxides will result in reproductive effects in humans.

    The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the EPA have not classified nitrogen oxides for potential carcinogenicity.

  • wxman

    @ MS – thanks for your response.

    But if NOx HASN’T been classified a carcinogen, why is there such regulatory concern over it? There are no areas in the U.S. that are currently in nonattainment with the NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) NAAQS, and haven’t been since the late 1990s, which means that emissions regulations in effect at that time, e.g., Tier 1, were sufficient, and dramatic NOx reductions mandated by, e.g., Tier 2, were an over-reach.

    And again, what about HC emissions from gasoline? HC emissions include nasty aromatics like benzene, a known carcinogen.

    I agree with AP, the European approach is more reasonable.

  • MS


    I agree with you HC are not good, as I think all polluntats have negative sides. I was only reffering that there is a basis that sustains the Nox risks.

    And following the AP thoughts below are the Nox and HC unde EU, specifically for the top two sellers on these tables.

    Prius Gasoline
    58 HC Emissions
    6 NOx Emissions

    Jetta Diesel
    45 HC Emissions
    141 NOx Emissions


  • JC

    Are your figures there based on “clean” diesel Jetta (even though you think there’s no such thing), or previous models?

    Speaking from experience, I had a 2006 Jetta TDI (Pre-clean). It was white. Every time I washed my car, within a wek, a film of black carbon soot would form on the bumber above the exhaust exit.

    My 2009 (clean) TDI creates no such soot buildup. I can stick my nose to the exhaust and smell virtually nothing (much less than a conventional gasoline vehicle, anyway).

    If you look into the method VW uses for its technology, it captures NOx and unburnt HCs and recirculates them into the combustion cycle when under less load (as compared to the BMW/ Merc method of mixing with urea to break up NOx particles).

    I think your objection is outdated and hysterical (in the sense of being based on hysteria, not as in funny).

  • Matt88

    I said this last month and I am going to say it again, and again until I get an answer; Where are the numbers for the Focus EV?

  • MS


    The information posted on the Jetta is the engine 2.0TDI as considered “clean diesel” is the US, the vehicle currently on sale, is not a old one, but you can check in the UK governamental site.

    In Europe these Diesel vehicles are not named clean diesels, because as you say they are not clean, nor unclean, they are Diesels.

    However the vehicles mention in the technical specifications if they contain Filter Active Particles (FAP), which is a filter that hold the particules and from time to time do a second burn of the Particles, turning them into smaller particules. This names in the US the vehicle as a Clean Diesel, in European Union almost all new diesel vehicles have this FAP.

    And that’s why we can not see the black exhaust, as now is being burned into smaller particulles from time to time (this depends on engine temperature and km/miles made). However these tiny particules, have other risks to the health as you can check accross the web.

  • wxman

    @MS – agree that there are some particles released during regeneration of DPF (FAP), but the particle number is still no greater or even less than the PN emissions gasoline engine emit virtually all the time.

    If you’re from Europe, I’m sure you’re aware that the EU has set a PN limit on new diesel cars that most gasoline (petrol) cars can’t meet, and filters may be required on gasoline cars if the EU sets a similar limit on them.

  • Greg

    Amazing to see that all models combined, Toyota/Lexus sold 27,455 units out of the hybrid total of 36,222 for 75% market share!

  • JD

    Diesels will never achieve PZEV. Straight from CARB; comparison of 2012 Prius,Ford Fusion, and the VW Passat.


    Here from the EPA is the Smart Elite Emissions List of vehicles. Not a stinkin Diesel on the list!

    The future is everything but smelly Diesels.

    The Prius C will make the make the March 2012 sales, blow through the roof!

  • Yegor

    Hybrid sales were whooping in Japan!
    Prius: 35,875
    Aqua (Prius C): 21,951
    How about that!

    Toyota has some other top sale models that have a Hybrid version (Vitz, VELLFIRE, Alphard) but I do not know how many of them are hybrid sales. More than half of Honda Fit 24,973 sales are hybrids too.

    I think Toyota crossed 1.2 million hybrids global sales per year mark!


  • Pedro

    That’s because Hybrid is a religion nowadays. I like the new Diesels. Prius sucks!

  • Rob O

    Uh, Matt, rather than whine each month like a spoiled child, how about you get off your lazy butt and spend 30 seconds looking up the answer yourself?

    From Ford itself, although there are plenty of articles out there for the not-so-lazy…

    “Ford will ramp up Focus Electric retail production in the first half of 2012 for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By the end of 2012, Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the U.S.”

    So limited availability for most of the U.S. throughout 2012. Like the Volt and LEAF in 2012.

  • Tom Schaffter

    Did you notice this is the third month in a row that the Prius has set US monthly sales records: most sold in months of Dec, Jan, and Feb. Assuming my data are correct.

    Recent month Previous record

    Dec 2011 – 17004 — Dec 2010 – 15639
    Jan 2012 – 11555 — Jan 2008 – 11379
    Feb 2012 – 20589 — Feb 2011 – 13539

  • Max Reid


    Did you read about this vehicle from Russia.
    Watch this video of Yo-Mobil Tribrid.

    Seems 60% of Fit sales in Japan and 40% of Freed Sales are Hybrids. So they can bring the Fit & Freed Hybrids to USA as well.

    Buick Lacrosse Hybrid is finally emerging. Hybrid’s share is nearly 25% of the total Lacrosse sales of 5,228 vehicles. Buick’s car line up has either Hybrid or Flexfuel.

  • Max Reid

    Prius sold 20,589 units while Corolla sold 22,148 units.
    This month Prius C also goes on sale. Will it be possible for Prius (Liftback + v + c) sales to overtake Corolla + Matrix sales.

    If so Prius will be #2 in Toyota’s lineup.

  • Bob Wilson

    I noticed Autoline Daily claims diesels outsell hybirds (http://www.autoline.tv/daily/?p=20484) but your numbers consistently show diesels coming in behind hybrids. They don’t provide specific numbers but you do.

    Any ideas about who is most accurate?

    Bob Wilson

    ps. I have confidence in your numbers as I follow the Toyota press releases. But AutoLine Daily . . . they seem to be the “FOX News” of automotive press.

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