July 2010 Dashboard: Sales of Popular Hybrids Hold Firm

In one sense, July hybrid sales look dismal—falling by 33 percent compared to one year ago while the overall vehicle market increased by 5 percent. But an annual comparison is hardly helpful, because last July we were in the heat of the Cash for Clunkers program.

2010 Toyota Prius

the Toyota Prius continues to rule, with more than 80,000 sales so far this year.

During that time, nearly all gas-electric hybrid cars qualified for the Cash for Clunkers vouchers. The Toyota Prius was the fourth most popular model purchased with vouchers from the Clunkers program. Hybrid sales in July 2009 grew to 3.55 percent of the new car market—its largest market share ever.

In that light, it’s not surprising that every single hybrid is down from last July. Meanwhile, nearly all the most popular hybrids—those that sell by more than a thousand or so per month—are up compared to last month. Sales of the Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry Hybrid are up by 28 percent and 16 percent respectively compared to June. The Honda Insight, which overtook the Ford Fusion Hybrid to become the number two selling hybrid, posted a monthly gain of nearly 25 percent.

Mysteriously, Ford’s two hybrids, the gas-electric Fusion and Escape, fell by 21 percent and 10 percent respectively. But here again, it’s easy to get thrown off by temporary fluctuations. The year-to-date sales indicate that the Fusion is doing well this year—with Ford reporting 45 percent more sales of the Fusion Hybrid this year compared to last year. The Escape, on the other hand, is apparently hurting—but not nearly as bad a the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which are both down by more than 40 percent. Year-to-date sales of the Civic Hybrid are even worse, falling so far by more than 70 percent.

Meanwhile, the Toyota Prius continues to rule, with more than 80,000 sales so far this year.

Big losses from the larger field of hybrid trucks and SUVs—almost all of them are luxury models—has dragged down overall year-to-date hybrid sales by about 5 percent so far. That’s not surprising, given the economy and the larger premiums on these models. Obviously, the continuing dismal macro-economic situation, and low gas prices, is not helping hybrids.

Those same conditions are putting a downward pressure on sales of clean diesels. Sales of the clean diesel Jetta TDI fell by 12 percent compared to last month, and by more than 40 percent compared to a year ago.

Also, you can’t help but wonder if some high-tech green early adopters are waiting on the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF—rather than buying a conventional hybrid or clean diesel vehicle.

July 2010 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the US (July 2010): 23,841
Hybrid Take-Rate: 2.27%

US hybrid sales for July 2010

Model Units vs. last month vs. July 2009 CYTD vs. CYTD 2009
Toyota Prius 14,102 28.2% -26.4% 80,141 7.0%
Honda Insight 1,858 24.6% -19.0 12,115 23.4%
Ford Fusion 1,586 -21.1% -38.7% 11,594 44.9%
Lexus RX450h 1,356 4.0% -0.9% 8,401 17.2%
Toyota Camry 1,276 16.3% -49.1% 8,910 -42.5%
Ford Escape 1,134 -10.0% -51.3% 7,255 -23.7%
Honda Civic 617 3.7% -36.3% 3,728 -72.0%
Toyota Highlander 575 -5.9% -50.9% 4,020 -46.6%
Altima 378 -21.1% -63.3% 4,426 5.3%
Lexus HS 250h 165 -72.6% n/a 6,657 n/a
Chevy Silverado 115 40.2% -12.9% 832 85.7%
Cadillac Escalade 104 52.9% -37.7% 738 -40.2%
Mercury Milan 90 -3.2% -59.3% 607 -19.1%
Mercury Mariner 86 -14.0% -59.8% 590 -36.1%
Chevy Tahoe 80 -52.4% -68.5% 993 -46.4%
GMC Yukon 78 -40.9% -33.3% 824 -17.8%
Mercedes S400 69 9.5% n/a 660 n/a
Mazda Tribute 68 23.6% -51.4% 386 -41.2%
Mercedes ML450 24 -88.7% n/a 660 n/a
GMC Sierra 20 -47.4% -58.3% 304 50.5%
Lexus GS450h 16 -27.3% -64.4% 195 -22.9%
Chevy Malibu 14 -61.1% -97.1% 373 -88.0%
Lexus LS600hL 14 250.0% -50.0% 66 -64.3%
BMW ActiveHybrid 7 9 -18.2% n/a 27 n/a
Saturn Aura 4 -20.0% -83.3% 42 -80.4%
BMW X6 3 -97.7% n/a 228 n/a
Saturn Vue 0 -100.0% -100.0% 47 -97.4%
All hybrids 23,841 10.0% -33.0% 154,752 -4.8%
All vehicles 1,050,101 6.7% 5.2% 6,664,124 14.8%

July 2010 Clean Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Clean Diesels sold in the US (July 2010): 6,047
Diesel Take-Rate: 0.58%

US clean diesel sales for July 2010

Model Units vs. last month vs. July 2009 CYTD vs. CYTD 2009
Volkswagen Jetta 3,570 -12.0% -42.7% 23,252 1.2%
BMW 335d 556 56.2% 205.5% 2,100 213.9%
BMW X5 455 -28.7% 55.8% 4,349 123.4%
Volkswagen Golf 410 -35.7% n/a 3,209 n/a
Audi Q7 247 0.4% 72.7% 1,547 63.2%
Mercedes ML320 197 -12.8% 286.3% 1,674 13.3%
Audi A3 194 -25.1% n/a 1,740 n/a n/a
Mercedes GL320 178 -38.4% 16.3% 1,674 13.3%
Volkswagen Touareg 117 21.9% 25.8% 1,026 243.1%
Jeep Cherokee 108 86.2% 54.3% 617 16.0%
Mercedes R320 12 -40.0% 50.0% 186 -31.9%
Mercedes E320 3 -25.0% -93.8% 49 -92.4%
All clean diesels 6,047 -12.2% -16.8% 40,957 28.5%
All vehicles 1,050,101 6.7% 5.2% 6,664,124 14.8%


View Past Dashboards:
  • Max Reid

    Just 1 model has 50% + share.
    Only 5 another models have 1,000 + sales.

    All other models are not returning the investment for the companies.

    So the conclusion is, it makes sense to make small hybrids (ideally hatchbacks) with V4 engines.

    In another 2 weeks, CR-Z is coming to market. Not expected to be great, since it has only 39 MPG, but its price is low.

    No idea as what will happen to Civic & Altima & HS250 Hybrids if the sales are so low.

    High time, Ford launches a Hybrid Fiesta.

  • Max Reid

    In Japan, Prius sold 34,000 + units. The govt’s program to give incentives to buy hybrids ends by Sep-2010. After that the Prius sales there may go down. Neither is the American market so rosy.

    If Toyota can launch the Prius-I (base model) at a lower price, then the sales will pick up. Definitely the cab companies can buy and benefit from this.

    Companies should take a serious look at the hybrids and how to reduce the prices.

  • Yegor

    Max Reid,
    The reason for these sales numbers is not in the size and type of the car. Small cars are subsidized by manufactures in order to meet government CAFE standards. Toyota chose to subsidize Prius – that is why it sells so well – it is just $4,000 more than same size none-hybrid. In case of none-small cars – they are no subsidized and the Hybrid premium is $8,000+. In case of Toyota Highlander it is $12,000. The price of fuel is low now and most of the people think that it is not worth it to pay such premium for a hybrid.

  • Yegor

    I wonder if Hybrid sales are bit lower due in part of a better choice of Clean Diesel vehicles?

  • MS

    Why do people connect these to words which are opposite. CLEAN and DIESEL

  • Dom

    Max Reid said “High time, Ford launches a Hybrid Fiesta.”
    Nah, bring the diesel version they sell in Europe… THAT is the Fiesta they should have sold here from the start.

    MS said “Why do people connect these to words which are opposite. CLEAN and DIESEL”

    Because some people know that a modern diesel such as the Jetta TDI is as clean or cleaner than most cars on the road today. Please do a bit of research on the subject.

  • Yegor

    “Also, you can’t help but wonder if some high-tech green early adopters are waiting on the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF—rather than buying a conventional hybrid or clean diesel vehicle.”

    Absolutely! This is an absolutely valid reason for hybrids lower sales numbers. Chevy Volt is just 3 months from now and we know that lots of people wait for it by dealership price gouging. We also know that Nissan Leaf has already at least 17,000 people waiting list. So yes, absolutely, it will affect hybrids sales numbers!

  • Yegor

    Top Japan July sales numbers:

    Toyota Prius: 34,456
    Honda Insight: 3,884
    Honda CR-Z: 3,225

  • usbseawolf2000

    All 12 Clean (enough) Diesel models combined is not even half the sale of a single model Prius.

  • PaulRivers

    Dear Toyota,

    After years of waiting to see how you redesigned the Prius to look, you totally dropped the ball.

    Do you know how I know? Because several years after the release of the 2010 model – hybrid car articles STILL use the theoretical mock-up picture of the next generation Prius every time they want a nice-looking picture of a hybrid car. :-)

    (The picture with this article is a theoretical rendition of what the 2010 Toyota Prius might look like from a non-Toyota source from years and years before the 2010 model was released.)

  • wxman

    @ usbseawolf2000 -

    That’s true but then the BMW 335d outsold the Lexus GS450h by a factor of almost 35. What’s your point?

  • veek

    MS:
    “clean” and “diesel” is no more an oxymoron than “green” and “hybrid.” Any car is going to de-green the environment — some just do it more slowly than others.

  • veek

    Here’s why we again decided to keep our 12 year-old Ranger rather than buying a new hybrid (we could buy a hybrid now, since we have saved all the money we have earned by not making any car payments in many years:

    –First, the Ranger has returned an average of 25 mpg, and in absolute terms, it pollutes little more than a new hybrid (we also have a hybrid, BTW). If everyone averaged 25 mpg, we would be far less dependent on OPEC. It also runs quite well, with no unscheduled maintenance trips in over 6 years. So … these are not bad figures.

    –Second, let’s assume we bought a Prius and doubled our mileage. That would save about $3000 in fuel over 3 years (at $5/gallon, which includes the extra taxes I pay to defend the oil supplies), and let’s say that the warranty availability would save us about $500 in repairs over 3 years.
    We would pay about $28,000 for the new car, less the trade-in, and let’s assume a generous depreciation cost of about $12,000 over the next 3 years (versus maybe $2000 on the Ranger). Now, let’s look at our esteemed state sales tax, which increases the cost by $2400. Now, add in about $1800 in extra vehicle registration cost and $2000 for extra vehicle insurance costs for 3 years.

    So … to save $3500 in gas and maintenance expenses over 3 years, and to gain a relatively small absolute amount of carbon emissions, I would need to fork over more than $16,000 in extra vehicle costs! I can get a better rate of return than that in the stock market, for goodness sakes.

    We can’t do much about depreciation, and very little about excess insurance costs, but the extra costs imposed by vehicle sales taxes and registration fees are easily controlled by our esteemed governments. If they want to sell more fuel-efficient vehicles, then greatly lower the onerous taxes and fees to buy and drive fuel-efficient vehicles (the states could increase those taxes on fuel-inefficient vehicles by a like amount and this would be revenue-neutral). This might be called unfair to certain groups, but … the current system is unfair, too.

  • PaulRivers

    Well, when I was looking at buying a car I didn’t have an existing car (well it was falling apart, thus the new car).

    I was debating between an older model Nissan Altima (23mpg) and Prius (48mpg). The Altima cost $14,500. The Prius cost me $18,000. (Before tax and all that for both).

    Assuming I drove the vehicel 200,000 miles, the Altima would cost me something like $23,000 in gas over those miles. The Prius was like $11,500 or something.

    Comparing a brand new, off-the-lot Prius to the Ranger is a decision you had to make (and for $28k you must have gotten a lot of the options packages), and I don’t bely your decision – however, it’s a radically different decision than deciding between a new Prius and a new Camry (or even a Corolla). Most of your costs come from “Buying a new car a flippin’ expensive!”. If you were buying a new Ranger, brand new off the lot, you would also have a lot of relatively similar costs.

    A brand new car is just plain hecka expensive, no matter what the new car is.

  • PaulRivers

    Well, when I was looking at buying a car I didn’t have an existing car (well it was falling apart, thus the new car).

    I was debating between an older model Nissan Altima (23mpg) and Prius (48mpg). The Altima cost $14,500. The Prius cost me $18,000. (Before tax and all that for both).

    Assuming I drove the vehicel 200,000 miles, the Altima would cost me something like $23,000 in gas over those miles. The Prius was like $11,500 or something.

    Comparing a brand new, off-the-lot Prius to the Ranger is a decision you had to make (and for $28k you must have gotten a lot of the options packages), and I don’t bely your decision – however, it’s a radically different decision than deciding between a new Prius and a new Camry (or even a Corolla). Most of your costs come from “Buying a new car a flippin’ expensive!”. If you were buying a new Ranger, brand new off the lot, you would also have a lot of relatively similar costs.

    A brand new car is just plain hecka expensive, no matter what the new car is.

  • Peter

    OTOH, cumulative year to date sales of Lexus HS250h is more than three times that of BMW 335d. So, what do you think?

  • vijith

    can some body inform me about hybrid car for budget of 16000$