June 2008 Dashboard: Automakers See Red

in partnership with Polk

Hybrids Worldwide

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

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

As gasoline prices climbed further and economic conditions worsened, fewer Americans considered putting a new car in the garage last month. Overall automobile sales fell by 18% compared with last June, a sales environment that many industry executives characterized as the worst they’ve seen in a decade. Buyers who were in the market for new vehicles were thinking about fuel efficiency, which should have fueled hybrid sales growth. But instead every hybrid model saw sales declines from last month, and nearly all hybrids (with the exception of the Nissan Altima Hybrid) saw sales fall below June 2007 levels. The main culprit was availability—precisely at the time that customers were demanding fuel-efficient hybrid cars, hybrid inventories were reaching new lows. Toyota reported just a one-day supply of the Prius and a two-and-a-half-day supply of the Camry hybrid (60 days is the industry average). Dealers are now reporting waiting lists as long as six months for new Priuses, and Toyota acknowledged that production may not catch up with demand until early 2009.

Automakers are blaming hybrid shortages on the limited supply of batteries and hybrid powertrain components. But this month’s results also illustrate automakers’ overly-cautious outlooks regarding future hybrid sales. Case in point is Toyota: after record sales in 2007, it would have seemed logical for Toyota to initiate at least modest production increases for its hybrid models. Instead, in 2008 Toyota has produced roughly the same number of Camry Hybrids as it did last year, and slightly fewer Priuses. The situation is similar for Ford: this year’s production of Escape and Mariner hybrids trails last year’s output by 15%. The immediate problem may be that suppliers can’t churn out more battery packs, but the larger issue is that automakers didn’t forecast much hybrid growth in 2008, so suppliers didn’t expand their production capabilities. That was the wrong bet, and automakers are now seeing red for two reasons: the North American car market is contracting, and those models that are in demand (including hybrids) are the ones the industry hadn’t planned on building.

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 estimated 2008 volumes based on sales-to-date.

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (June 2008): 24,917

US hybrid sales for June 2008

Model Units vs. last month vs. June 2007 CYTD vs. CYTD 2007
Prius 11,765 -21.6% -33.7% 91,440 -3.2%
Camry 3,054 -49.1% -44.8% 28,349 1.0%
Highlander 1,511 -42.9% -37.1% 13,053 -8.8%
RX400h 1,330 -38.3% -14.9% 9,038 4.4%
LS600hL 73 -34.8% n/a 637 n/a
GS450h 73 -25.5% -44.3% 459 -53.8%
Civic 2,710 -42.0% -16.5% 19,032 9.3%
Accord 7 -56.3% -98.0% 191 -90.7%
Escape 1,720* -19.6% -21.5% 10,128 -11.5%
Mariner 192* -19.6% -42.5% 1,294 -36.2%
Yukon 227* -7.1% n/a 841 n/a
Malibu 295 n/a n/a 295 n/a
Vue 277 -18.5% -40.2% 825 -53.5%
Tahoe 320* -7.1% n/a 1068 n/a
Aura 30 -16.7% -75.4% 99 -70.4%
Altima 1,333 -17.1% 65.8% 5,575 100.8%
All hybrids 24,917 -30.1% -28.6% 180,875 -1.9%
All vehicles 1,189,108 -14.9% -18.3% 7,413,588 -10.1%

* Estimated sales

U.S. hybrid sales for June 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 29,749
2 Florida 7,037
3 New York 6,862
4 Texas 6,517
5 Illinois 5,029
6 Washington 4,386
7 Virginia 4,362
8 Pennsylvania 4,098
9 Massachusetts 3,673
10 Arizona 3,566
11 New Jersey 3,546
12 Maryland 3,147
13 Ohio 2,980
14 North Carolina 2,607
15 Colorado 2,509

*Registrations CYTD April 2008

States where hybrids are most popular

Rank State New Hybrids per 1000 Residents*
1 District of Columbia 0.981
2 California 0.823
3 Washington 0.698
4 Oregon 0.670
5 Vermont 0.648
6 Arizona 0.600
7 Connecticut 0.591
8 Virginia 0.576
9 Massachusetts 0.574
10 Maryland 0.562
11 Colorado 0.538
12 New Hampshire 0.509
13 Nevada 0.506
14 Delaware 0.486
15 Minnesota 0.462
US State Average 0.388

*Registrations CYTD April 2008

Metropolitan areas with the highest hybrid sales

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids*
1 Los Angeles 13,428
2 San Francisco 8,151
3 New York 8,019
4 Washington, DC 4,672
5 Chicago 3,991
6 Boston 3,670
7 Seattle 3,598
8 Philadelphia 3,348
9 Phoenix 3,069
10 San Diego 2,755
11 Sacramento, CA 2,555
12 Denver 2,200
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul 2,157
14 Portland, OR 2,101
15 Dallas-Ft. Worth 2,096

*Registrations CYTD April 2008

Metropolitan areas where hybrids are most popular

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids per 1000 Households*
1 Portland, OR 5.162
2 San Francisco 3.460
3 Santa Barbara, CA 2.867
4 Monterey, CA 2.751
5 San Diego 2.685
6 Los Angeles 2.425
7 Charlottesville, VA 2.280
8 Seattle 2.114
9 Washington, DC 2.074
10 Sacramento, CA 1.898
11 Phoenix 1.848
12 Palm Springs, CA 1.836
13 Helena, MT 1.705
14 Eugene, OR 1.666
15 Austin 1.590
  US Metro Area Average 0.849

*Registrations CYTD April 2008


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