January 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.

January sales always drop significantly from the prior year-ending month and this time around it was no different.

Generally, December sales are very high as year-end sales are in place. This rule of thumb applying to vehicles in general is also true for hybrid, plug-in, and diesel vehicles.

While overall sales in January were at a strong rate (over 14 million at an annual rate based on seasonal adjustment factors), the actual number of sales was down 27 percent from December 2011. Hybrid sales were down a similar rate, at 30 percent and plug in sales were down 48 percent (although the low volume of these sales makes the comparison less meaningful). Diesel sales dropped less, at 22 percent, than the overall market or the hybrids or plug ins.

The Volt was clearly affected by the safety investigation, which was closed by NHTSA in January. Sales dropped over 60 percent from December 2011. GM has begun a marketing campaign to emphasize the safety of the vehicle and is also equipping all vehicles with additional content to reassure current and future customers. The nature of campaigns such as this is that they take some time to work, but GM is clearly committed to getting its story out to the public.

While diesel sales were down compared to December 2011, they were up 21 percent as compared to January 2011. This is primarily due to the launch of the VW Passat diesel and reasonable volumes of the VW Jetta (as compared to last January). A number of clean diesel products enjoyed higher sales as compared to a year ago.

The BMW ActiveE electric has entered the market this month, and we are now including the Kia Optima hybrid, which is now being reported by the manufacturer, although the model has been out for some time. We continue to estimate sales for the Hyundai Sonata hybrid. Tesla and Fisker sales are not yet included, as the manufacturer is not reporting these sales.

Hybrid sales are up 11 percent compared to a year ago, with the leading vehicles being the Toyota Prius and Camry (Toyota Prius column now includes the Liftback and the larger v and does not break out the numbers). The new Toyota Camry hybrid includes a new version of the hybrid which should bring in stronger sales in the coming months. Also leading are the Hyundai Sonata, the Lexus CT200h, the Buick Lacrosse Mild Hybrid, and the Lexus RX450h.

New hybrids in the next few months include the Toyota Prius c (a smaller vehicle than the “regular” Prius) and the Toyota Prius Plug In.

January 2012 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (January 2012): 21,778
Hybrid Take-Rate: 2.39%

U.S. hybrid sales for January 2012

Model Units vs. last month vs. January 2011 CYTD vs. CYTD 2011
Toyota Prius 11,555 11.8% 8.7% 11,555 8.7%
Toyota Camry 2,116 17.8% 146.0% 2,116 146.0%
Hyundai Sonata 1,304 -31.6% n/a 1,304 n/a
Lexus CT 200h 1,025 -54.6% n/a 1,025 n/a
Buick LaCrosse 781 -62.8% n/a 781 n/a
Lexus RX400/450h 753 -38.9% -17.4% 753 -17.4%
Kia Optima 705 n/a n/a 705 n/a
Ford Fusion 611 -31.2% -36.9% 611 -36.9%
Honda Insight 492 -28.7% -68.3% 492 -68.3%
Honda Civic 449 -20.5% -31.2% 449 -31.2%
Honda CR-Z 363 -35.6% -59.4% 363 -59.4%
Toy. Highlander 362 -35.7% -47.5% 362 -47.5%
Ford Escape 345 -68.1% -33.7% 345 -33.7%
Linc. MKZ Hybrid 253 -41.7% -31.6% 253 -31.6%
Lexus HS 250h 152 -44.5% -46.9% 152 -46.9%
Porsche Cayenne 112 25.8% -46.9% 112 -46.9%
Buick Regal 63 n/a n/a 63 n/a
Porsche Panamera S 39 50.0% n/a 39 n/a
VW Touareg Hybrid 36 24.1% -57.1% 36 -57.1%
Infiniti M35h 35 -35.2% n/a 35 n/a
Cad. Escalade 34 -57.0% -65.7% 34 -65.7%
BMW Hybrid 7 30 -41.2% -6.3% 30 -6.3%
Altima 27 -20.6% -92.6% 27 -92.6%
Mazda Tribute 24 -33.3% -33.3% 24 -33.3%
Lexus GS450h 25 -24.2% 31.6% 25 -31.6%
GMC Yukon Hybrid 24 -51.0% -53.8% 24 -53.8%
Chevy Silverado 21 -89.2% -89.1% 21 -89.1%
Chevy Tahoe 18 -55.0% -72.7% 18 -72.7%
Mercedes S400HV 11 -70.3% -57.7% 11 -57.7%
Lexus LS600hL 8 -11.1% 0% 8 0%
GMC Sierra 4 -60.0% -81.0% 4 -81.0%
Chevy Malibu Hybrid 1 n/a -108.3% 1 -108.3%
BMW X6 0 -100.0% -100.0% 0 -100.0%
Mercedes ML450 0 n/a -100.0% 0 -100.0%
All hybrids 21,778 -30.0% 11.4% 21,778 11.4%
All vehicles 910,617 -26.4% 11.5% 910,617 11.5%

January 2012 Plug-in Electric Car Sales Numbers

Plug-in cars sold in the U.S. (January 2012):1,427
Plug-in Take-Rate:0.16%

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

Model Units vs. last month vs. January 2011 CYTD vs. CYTD 2011
Nissan LEAF 676 -29.1% 677.0% 676 677.0%
Chevrolet Volt 603 -60.6% 87.9% 603 87.9%
BMW Active E 112 n/a n/a 112 n/a
Mitsubishi i 36 -52.6% n/a 36 n/a
Smart ED 0 -100.0% -100.0% 0 12,833.3%
All plug-in cars 1,427 -48.1% 239.8% 1,427 239.8%
All vehicles 910,617 -26.4% 11.5% 910,617 11.5%

January 2012 Clean Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Clean Diesels sold in the U.S. (January 2012):7,564
Diesel Take-Rate:0.83%

U.S. clean diesel sales for January 2012

Model Units vs. last month vs. January 2011 CYTD vs. CYTD 2011
VW Jetta 2,509 -28.9% -14.6% 2,509 -14.6%
Passat Diesel 1,229 -22.4% n/a 1,229 n/a
Volkswagen Golf 664 -16.9% 14.9% 664 14.9%
Mercedes ML320 527 -31.4% 14.9% 527 14.9%
Mercedes GL320 524 -8.6% 87.8% 524 87.8%
BMW X5 407 -63.7% -36.7% 407 -36.7%
VW Touareg 396 -33.0% 132.9% 396 132.9%
Audi A3 393 19.5% -16.6% 393 -16.6%
BMW 335d 329 -3.2% 105.6% 329 105.6%
Audi Q7 310 28.1% 0.0% 310 0.0%
Mercedes E320 174 -7.0% -21.6% 174 -21.6%
Mercedes S350 63 -24.2% n/a 63 n/a
Mercedes R320 39 62.5% n/a 39 n/a
Jeep Gr Cherokee 0 n/a -100.0% -100.0%
All clean diesels 7,564 -21.7% 21.2% 7,564 22.1%
All vehicles 910,617 -26.4% 11.5% 910,617 11.5%

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  • JJJ

    I think the prius and prius V should be listed separately.

  • Yegor T

    Thank you for the numbers!

  • Nelson Lu

    Is the Hyundai Sonata figure (and, by extension, I assume, the Kia Optima figure) still “estimated”? Again, I’ve seen a grand total of two Hyundai Sonata Hybrids on the road, and I drive a lot.

  • Yegor

    Nelson Lu,

    The article says that Optima numbers are reported now by Kia but Sonata is an estimate.

    HybridCars Hybrids total is very close to NADA Hybrids total and Sonata estimate is very close to availability numbers that are reported by “cars.com” website.

  • Yegor

    Camry sales are good but they are going to grow even more! – Toyota says that Camry Hybrid still has limited availability. Kudos to Toyota on Camry Hybrid!

  • Yegor

    I am surprised that Ford was able to sell 611 Fusion Hybrids.

    Fusion Hybrids is $3,000 more expensive than Camry Hybrid, Camry has a better MPG and Ford does not have any promotions.

    Hyundai on the other hand had to cut the price to $25,800 to match Camry’s MSRP price plus Hyundai has 0% for 48 mos PLUS $500 Bonus Cash. Thus Sonata actual price is $3,000-$6,000 less because of 0% financing so they were able to pull 2,000 sales (with Kia) despite much lower MPG than Camry.

  • Yegor

    I do agree that The Volt was clearly affected by unjust attacks due to the safety investigation. 🙁 If not for thus the sales today would probably be in 2,000-3,000 range.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    It’s a long slow road for the plug-ins but high gas in the next few months will be a big boost for them…


  • Yegor

    While Hybrids did keep the pace with the overall market (11.4% growth) many models (Insight, CR-Z, Civic, Fusion) took a really serious blow including the renowned regular Prius Liftback!

    Since Prius V sales must be in 3,000 range it means that regular Prius sold about 8,500 – 20% less than January last year.

    Hybrids were able to keep the pace mostly thanks to the new models this January:
    Prius V: 3,000
    new Camry: 2,116
    Hyundai Sonata: 1,304
    Lexus CT 200h: 1,025
    Buick LaCrosse: 781
    Kia Optima: 705
    Total: 8,931
    Almost half of Hybrid sales came from the new models!

  • Yegor

    Hybrid sales suffer a lot from all time strong Yen: 76 Yen/Dollar (it was 120 Yen/Dollar in 2007)
    There is no promotional financing or cash back on all three major Hybrids: Prius, Prius V and Camry Hybrid while all ICE cars enjoy 0%-2% financing.
    It adds another $2,000-$4,000 to these Hybrids in comparisons to ICE cars. It makes a huge difference – it slows Hybrid sales a lot. 🙁

  • Nelson Lu

    Yegor wrote:

    “HybridCars Hybrids total is very close to NADA Hybrids total and Sonata estimate is very close to availability numbers that are reported by “cars.com” website.”

    I don’t see how this is relevant; that’s *availability* numbers, not *sold* numbers.

  • Yegor

    Nelson Lu,

    In my experience cars.com availability numbers match one month of sales for most of the models. But in this case we do not even need cars.com estimate because we know the total and we know sales for each model except Sonata Hybrid.

    NADA Total for January: 22,485 (from past experience NADA includes Volt sales into Hybrids total).
    All Hybrids here except Volt: 20,162 + Volt: 603 = 20,765
    Sonata Hybrid = 22,485 – 20,765 = 1,720

  • Yegor

    But there is one positive trend – according to NADA the market share of cars in comparison to so called trucks (CUV, SUV, etc) grew from 46.5% last January to 50.3% this January. This could be big! Let us see if this is not a fluke and this trend continues!

    May be new 2012 CAFE standard started to finally make some difference. At least I can see that the price of base Ford F-150 went up from ridiculous $21,000 last year to $23,000 this year.

  • folsomev

    Look for Volt sales to increase substantially when the California HOV lane model starts shipping. There is a big pent-up demand for that model in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Southern California. Sacramento is getting many more miles of HOV lanes now, so that should increase demand there as well.

    I heard of one Bay Area Chevy dealer who has forty-seven HOV lane Volts on order.

  • Yegor

    Cars sales in Japan are around 4.6 millions per year.
    So Hybrids sales in Japan are reaching 20% market share!

  • Yegor

    Hybrid sales were whooping in Japan!
    Prius: 29,108 (Aqua did not reduce Prius sales!!! Woo-Hoo!!!)
    Aqua (Prius C): 13,485
    Honda sold 200,000 Hybrids last year worldwide so it means that Honda Fit Hybrid sales in Japan are around 12,000 per month.
    Total: 54,593 !!! Woo-Hoo!!!

    Toyota has some other top sale models that have a Hybrid version but I do not know how many of them are hybrid sales. Total for the models are:
    Vitz: 8,000
    VELLFIRE: 6,480
    Alphard: 4,067


  • Yegor

    If US want CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations to work that should adopt Japan scheme.

  • Yegor

    If Honda sells something like 12,000 of Honda Fit Hybrids per month in Japan and less than 2,000 Insights, why don’t they bring Fit Hybrid to US?
    Fit and Insight are very similar in size but people complain that Insight rear seats roof is very low – not for adults.
    If people do not buy Insight for this reason in Japan it is even bigger problem in US.
    Fit does not have this problem and probably that is why it sells much better even in Japan!
    I think if Honda brings Fit Hybrid to US they can pull 3,000-5,000 per month even with IMA.
    They do not even need to design a new model – just bring it to US and see! Come on Honda!

  • Max Reid

    Fit has more interior space than Insight, since its a wagon and also has a lower floor and a higher roof. And it has better mileage than Insight as well. No wonder Fit is selling well.

    Anyway the sales of Insight, Civic-H and CR-Z is very low, so they can bring Fit-H and Fit Shuttle-H to US. But Honda seems to be confused.

    As per NADA Stats, Hybrid Trucks sold only 1,779 units which is a 37% decrease while the Hybrid car sales increased 21%. Especially those Hybrids with V8 engines can be phased out.


    Also the Prius C has 120,000 orders in Japan, so they may not sell much in USA.

  • Max Reid

    While Hybrids & Plugins are struggling, on the other front,
    Wind energy has increased by 21% to hit 238 GW while the Solar PV has increased by 71% to hit 67 GW.

    Also the CNG is expanding much faster and I can see many CNG taxis like Transit Connect, Escape, Impala’s with that Blue Diamond symbol.

  • Dan Lerma

    I just came from the Kia dealer and gave the new 2012 Optima hybrid a run. Feels and looks great. I research via the web and came to the KIA for features and price. This being my first time even considering a hybrid, any suggestions? I’m stil a little hesitant, and after all this is a Kia. Any word of advice before I pull teh trigger?

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Toyota Aqua (Prius C) has taken a bit of Corolla’s market in Japan. After all, it has 104 cu ft of interior volume which compares with Corolla’s 107 cu ft, the price is same which the mileage is atleast 50% more.

    Will the same happen here in US.

    Also the wagon can carry bigger stuff if rear seat is closed.

  • Yegor

    Dan Lerma,

    Kia (a division of Hyundai) reliability have improved a lot in the last 5 years. Now Kia reliability is in the middle – a little bit better than American cars but a little bit worse than Japanese cars (see Consumer Reports).

    Hybrids are new for Kia so there is no reliability record for Hybrids.

    I suggest to make sure that Kia also has LIFETIME BATTERY GUARANTEE also

    If you drive mostly city you would save money on gas with Camry Hybrid which offers 43 MPG in city.
    For Hyundai and Kia Hybrids people report a slightly lower MPG than advertised – 35 MPG on average (even for highway driving):

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  • Mike H

    Is this for new cars only? Or does it include total sales (new and used)? Thanks.

  • Jacob

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  • Sammy

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