Notable Sales Spikes For Electrified Vehicles In October

Since automakers began launching electrified vehicles in earnest around the beginning of 2011, there’s been this push-pull relationship between the portrayers of reality and spin about their market acceptance and viability.

While critics are correct saying we’ve seen some slower than expected starts, as well as some conspicuous dropouts from EV development by Toyota and Audi, automakers are nonetheless building with superlative strides on the small market.

Included among examples would be GM, which has set month-over-month sales records with the Chevy Volt the past three months; Nissan’s Leaf is also gaining ground again, and Ford just announced it topped a mainstay competitor with the first full month sales by the Ford C-MAX Hybrid against the Toyota Prius v.

Volt vs. Nissan: The original (non)race

When asked, GM does not concede it is in a race with Nissan, but we’re keeping tradition alive given industry watchers have otherwise noticed both cars are electrified alternative offerings, and both launched around the same time in December 2010.

2013-Chevrolet-Volt-004-medium

And actually, the Chevy Volt has been a big fish in a diminutive but growing pond by topping the electric car sales chart for several months now. For its latest milestone, the car just missed the 3,000 unit barrier with a record 2,961 units sold for October. GM’s Chevy with a plug port saw an uptick from September’s record 2,851 units sold, which in turn had been an uptick from August’s record 2,831 Volts sold.

At the same time – while some have been wondering about the Leaf in light of mixed publicity – Nissan reported a big increase to 1,579 units sold in October from 984 Leafs sold in September. And like the Volt, the Leaf’s sales rose from August, but by a larger margin, given that its August sales were 685 units. So is the Leaf on the upswing again? Last year it sold relatively better than it has most of this year. The past three months have seen respectable gains however.

Year to date, the Volt has scored 19,309 sales, and the Leaf has 6,791.

2012_nissan_leaf_14_2

These numbers fall short from their makers previously projected targets. GM long-since stopped saying it will sell 45,000 Volts in North America this year, and will match supply to demand. Any guesses on how it will finish the calendar year?

Nissan has said it would shoot for 20,000 by end of its fiscal year, which happens to be the end of March 2013. With 5,058 Leafs sold since April 1 – no fooling – and with five months to go, Nissan would need to average 2,988 Leafs per month to do it. It’s not out of the question, but does not look likely at this juncture, and Nissan executives have conceded this.

So, sure enough, expectations, hopes, and projections are having to be adjusted, but this endeavor is still very much playing out, with improvements to the Leaf pending, and the Volt still overcoming lingering effects from harsh critical attacks from last year into this year.

But proliferation of electrified vehicles is happening. Slower than some wanted, but happening just the same.

FoMoCo

And speaking of which, look out world, Ford is late to the party, but it is predicted by Pike Research to be the only automaker that tops 400,000 units of plug-in vehicles sold in the U.S. by the year 2020 – admittedly still a long way out, but this indicates strong initial promise.

Not unlike how Toyota’s anticipated Prius plug-in for its inaugural month March 2012 was noted for topping the Volt’s first month of sales (and first March sales), the anticipated C-MAX Hybrid bested the established Toyota Prius v with 3,182 units sold to Toyotas 2,769.

“The new C-MAX is off to a fast start in the heart of the hybrid market, not only outselling Prius v, but drawing a lot of interested Toyota customers who chose our new hybrid instead,” says C.J. O’Donnell, manager, Ford Electrified Vehicles. “Customers now come into our showrooms for fuel economy, and we’re delivering with six vehicles that offer 40 mpg or better, including the new C-MAX Hybrid at 47 mpg combined, with another two on the way by year’s end.”

Ahem. It’s not like anyone is waging a campaign of rubbing Toyota’s nose in perceived shortcomings every which way it can or anything like that. Or is it? In any case, if you were thinking about a shiny new Toyota hybrid, Ford recommends you drop by to see whether it can change your mind.

The Prius v has in recent months typically ranked in the top 4 along with its other T-branded hybrid siblings. Expect to see more of this one-upmanship by the American brand with the blue oval against the established brand from Japan when and if it can for the C-MAX Hybrid and its other electrified vehicles.

Ford says the new C-MAX Hybrid led the company to its best October hybrid sales month ever with a total of 4,612 sales, up 142 percent over October 2011.

We’ll have more sales news for you as we go, and the HybridCars.com Dashboard will be up as soon as all data is received.


  • doug card

    You cant compare the C-Max to any Hybrid designed and marketed over a decade ago. Public acceptance of hybrids has changed radically. probably by a factor of 10 in terms of the number who would seriously consider a hybrid

  • Volume Van

    Expected. C-Max is cheaper than Prius V and has more mileage, although its smaller in interior space. I hope C-Max will go further towards Prius Liftback in sales.

    And also the Fusion Hybrid will further boost the sales for Ford.

    Its sad that Prius could not touch 20,000 units in sales with 4 models. We can hope that the competition from C-Max could reduce the Prius price and increase sales.

  • CharlesF

    I do not think that the C-Max sales will be as strong in the next couple of months. There was pent up demand, that is now filled. Well at least part of it is filled.

    I do think the C-Max is a better car than the Prius V and will be beat it in sales after a while. But not so sure about December through March.

    I do hope that after Obama is reelected that the tax incentives for plug in cars will be extended and maybe even increased. If by some chance Mr. Romney is elected, I hope his flip flops end up with at least keeping the current tax credits.

  • JP White

    I had high hopes for the C-Max plug-in when it comes out in a few months. I went to see a C-Max Hybrid at a local dealer and both my wife and I were underwhelmed by the tiny trunk (Smaller than than our LEAF). I went away disappointed, it’s much smaller than I had anticipated. Rear legroom is good, I think Ford compromised to trunk depth too much to get the extra rear leg room.

    I’ll wait for the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in to come out instead. It’ll sport 4WD as well

  • MrEnergyCzar

    It’s amazing that a $40K car can even have 3,000 sales in a given month in the first place…. Higher gas prices will raise all plug-in sales. This would happen if we ever start to grow our economy again…

    MrEnergyCzar

  • john1701a

    $7,500 tax credit is an incentive that should not be overlooked.

  • Chuck in NJ……

    I think that the REAL WORLD mileage will start to be shown with the CMAX….figures have shown through purchases that personally some friends purchased one before the PHEV Prius Plug in and only have topped around 37 thru 39 TRUE mILEGAE…..ALSO i AGREE THAT THE first month were sales of people waiting for its availability…..it will decrease for November I am sure of it…its too heavy to receive the figures that Ford is claiming as well as the engine is too large for these as well to be ACTUAL…Ford has this thing to stretch the truth and always has done this to its interested parties….i can tell you first hand as a previous owner the explorer never stood up to its EPA claims…..think hard before buying into it please…..also I will bet the ENERGI also at 800 lbs more than the PRIUS PHV as well will NOT get true 108 mpge….more like 95 thru 100 is a better figure….also too heavy….