September 2011 Dashboard: Consumers Favor Trucks Over Hybrids

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

Hybrid sales declined from August—showing a drop of more than 20 percent compared to a year ago, while the overall market was up 10 percent compared to last September. Sales apparently were hit by continuing supply shortages of the Prius, and a slide in gas prices. Nobody knows were gas prices will go, but we expect Prius sales to increase as inventory returns. Volumes on other Japanese hybrids also declined, due both to availability and exchange rate issues.

Allthe top hybrid sellers dropped in September and are down for 2011—a year in which hybrid sales were expected to rise. In September, the hybrid take-rate was a disappointing 1.68 percent of new car sales.

Diesel volumes were also a letdown in September—falling 5 percent compared to a year ago. However, sales of clean diesel vehicles are up 30 percent for the year.

Chevy Volt sales increased in September as availability started to rise, and should jump even more in coming months as production moved above 2,000 units per month in August and September. Nissan LEAF sales have been relatively consistent, but did slide by a few hundred units compared to last month. Sales of plug-in cars broke the 10,000-unit mark in September.

Overall vehicle sales this month were tilted towards trucks—including crossovers—with pickups doing very well. This suggests that small business owners and other commercial interests see better times ahead and are buying these trucks to prepare for new business, and to replace their aging vehicles. Unfortunately, these segments have very little hybrid content and thus hybrid sales did not get a boost from the trend. In addition, a drop in gas prices—in large part due to poor economic news—reduced demand for higher mileage cars including electrics, hybrids, and diesels.

September 2011 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the US (September 2011):17,625
Hybrid Take-Rate:1.68%

US hybrid sales for September 2011

Model Units vs. last month vs. September 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
Toyota Prius 9,325 -1.7% -18.2% 93,243 -9.8%
Hyundai Sonata 2,000 -51.6% n/a 14,042 n/a
Lexus CT 200h 1,444 -30.8% n/a 8,852 n/a
Lexus RX450h 650 -22.7% -41.5% 7,701 -29.2%
Ford Escape 566 0.5% -28.6% 7,305 -16.8%
Ford Fusion 552 155.6% -67.0% 8,548 -47.5%
Honda CR-Z 537 -27.9% -56.6% 10,172 427.0%
Honda Insight 512 -46.7% -69.5% 13,618 -13.9%
Linc. MKZ Hybrid 455 -7.3% 4,450.0% 4,353 43,430.0%
Honda Civic 305 187.7% -54.3% 3,155 -38.8%
Toyota Camry 229 -28.0% -79.3% 6,381 -42.9%
Lexus HS 250h 231 -18.7% -67.5% 2,178 -72.6%
Toy. Highlander 218 -3.5% -58.3% 3,425 -31.9%
Altima 217 -31.8% -57.5% 3,098 -40.7%
Porsche Cayenne 112 -12.5% n/a 1,235 n/a
Chevy Silverado 75 316.7% -62.7% 720 -47.1%
Mazda Tribute 32 37.3% -39.6% 374 -24.3%
Infiniti M35h 45 -16.7% n/a 245 n/a
Lexus GS450h 18 5.9% 0.0% 208 -8.8%
GMC Yukon Hybrid 16 -11.1% -66.7% 505 -46.7%
Cad. Escalade 14 -65.0% -82.9% 680 -25.1%
Mercedes S400 22 46.7% -73.5% 244 -67.9%
BMW Hybrid 7 16 6.7% 77.8% 253 308.1%
VW Touareg Hybrid 14 40.0% n/a 322 n/a
GMC Sierra 7 40.0% -77.4% 142 -63.2%
Lexus LS600hL 8 -11.1% -11.1% 62 -31.1%
BMW X6 4 -300.0% 100.0% 39 -83.3%
Chevy Tahoe 1 -94.4% -98.8% 416 -64.3%
Chevy Malibu Hybrid n/a -100.0% 24 -93.8%
Mercedes ML450 n/a -100.0% 1 -99.9%
All hybrids 17,625 -16.8% -20.6% 191,541 -4.7%
All vehicles 1,049,754 -1.8% 9.8% 9,485,612 10.3%

September 2011 Plug-in Electric Car Sales Numbers

Plug-in cars sold in the US (September 2011):1,754
Plug-in Take-Rate:0.17%

US plug-in electric sales for September 2011

Model Units vs. last month vs. September 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
Nissan LEAF 1,031 -24.3% n/a 7,199 n/a
Chevrolet Volt 723 139.4% n/a 3,895 n/a
Smart ED n/a n/a 88 n/a
All plug-in cars 1,754 5.0% n/a 11,182 n/a
All vehicles 1,049,754 -1.8% 9.8% 9,485,612 10.4%

September 2011 Clean Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Clean Diesels sold in the US (September 2011):7,663
Diesel Take-Rate:0.73%

US clean diesel sales for September 2011

Model Units vs. last month vs. September 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
VW Jetta 4,158 -13.4% -14.1% 41,083 -27.0%
Volkswagen Golf 694 -24.1% 59.5% 7,576 84.1%
BMW X5 610 2.0% -12.2% 5,031 -10.2%
BMW 335d 449 32.1% 46.3% 2,655 -3.4%
Mercedes ML320 360 12.9% -0.8% 2,556 39.0%
VW Touareg 359 21.3% 204.2% 2,191 73.2%
Mercedes GL320 280 21.7% -32.2% 3,431 38.9%
Audi Q7 251 -23.5% -23.5% 2,893 28.8%
Mercedes E320 251 -14.6% 25,000.0% 2,232 1,910.8%
Audi A3 234 -55.7% -23.8% 2,829 18.6%
Mercedes R320 17 112.5% -65.3% 406 53.2%
Jeep Gr Cherokee n/a -100.0% 152 -84.2%
All clean diesels 7,663 -13.0% -5.1% 73,777 30.9%
All vehicles 1,049,754 -1.8% 9.8% 9,485,612 10.3%

View Past Dashboards:

More Hybrid News...

  • Nelson Lu

    Can you explain further on the methods of estimating Sonata Hybrid’s numbers? Again, I have to (respectfully) say that these numbers are beginning to strain credibility.

  • Max Reid

    I thought Prius production will be back to normal in Sep. May be most of them are on Ship on way to US.

    Also Prius sold 1,000,000 units in Japan so far and has sold 33,197 units in September in Japan. So they are allocating more units to Japan. This is more than 10 % of Japan’s vehicle sales excluding Mini-vehicles.

    Now coming to other vehicles.
    BMW X6 & Mazda Tribute Hybrid is phased out.
    Ford Escape-H will be phased out by 2012 Model Year.

    Sales of ML450, LS600h, Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade, Silverado, Sierra are coming down to grinding halt. Expect many Hybrids with V8 & V6 engines to be phased out.

    Meanwhile, more Electric & Plugins are entering the scene. Soon, we will see Miev & Karma in this list.

    Hope you guys have seen which is a 7-seater with space in bonnet for keeping things.

  • Yegor

    Thank you for the numbers!

    Toyota sold a whooping 33,197 Prius in Japan!

    Now that Toyota has reached the full production capacity more Prii is coming to US.

    I was watching US offers for Prius since the earthquake – there were none cash back or financing offers. Now for the first time I see Prius $500 Cash back offer. It means Prius finally arriving in good numbers.

  • Max Reid

    Prius V goes on sale in US this month. So Prii sales will increase.

    Camry-H sales will increase when the new model comes in. Also for the Insight, new model is coming in few months, so it may increase at that time.

    But we can expect Plugin and EV sales to compete with Hybrid sales.

    Another silent trend is happening.
    Sales of Cars is down to 46% while the Trucks have gained 54%.

    CUV sales are increasing.
    Now the Large car sales have dwindled. Mid-size car sales were flat.
    Expect the CUVs and the upcoming wagons like Prius-V & C-Max to gain sales from Sedans.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Sad headline. We need a floor on the price of gas of $4 and raise it every year by 50 cents so people won’t get knocked out when oil rises again…


  • Max Reid

    What happened to Kia Optima and Buick Lacrosse Hybrids. Are they not in the market.

    Hope they may give much needed boost for Hybrids along with Prius V.

    Overall, the chance of Hybrids breaking the 3% market share seems to be far away.

  • Shines

    Here we are in the middle of a recession (tell me it aint so…) and gas prices are around $4 a gallon. As the World moves out of the recession gas prices are going to climb. I would like to believe the increase in sales of light trucks indicate small businesses are starting to hire… Looking forward to seeing Ford and Toyota plug ins showing up on these lists.

  • marcsf

    I’ll second the skepticism on the Sonata again (and still). The estimate is lower than previous months, so maybe some more thought is going into it. But if I have only seen ONE in all of San Francisco, there is now way that Hyundai has sold anywhere near 14,000 this year. And I have seen no Kia hybrids. Andyes people what goes on in SF with hybrids is a good indicator of their sales. Only LA would have more. Anyone seen any in LA?

    Why is the Volt not included in the hybrid scorecard? It really is just a fancier hybrid, after all. It would be the 3rd best selling hybrid (yes, that is because the Sonata should not be up there). It would also more accurately boost hybrid numbers.

  • Max Reid

    Later when more plugins like Karma, Prius join in, a Plugin category will be created and Volt will be placed in it.

    Another Electric category will be for Leaf, Miev, Focus, Tesla, etc.

    Its sad that Hyundai does not reveal the sales for Sonata-H & Optima-H separately.

    As the Yen appreciates, Toyota may find it better to sell Prius & CT200H in Japan and allocate very few to USA. So until, more EVs and local Hybrids like C-Max joins in, I dont see much excitement here.

    Oil prices may not exceed $100 – $120 range as many EU & Asian countries economies may sink.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    What a absurd, ridiculous and awful title for the article!!

    Why didn’t the author just say this intead:

    “Consumers favor Camry’s over Ferarri’s”

    That would have made just about as much sense as the current title.

  • Max Reid

    Sales in France

    Diesel has 72% share
    Hybrids has 0.8%
    EV has 0.2%

    Flexfuel is increasing while LPG is declining.

  • Yegor

    Indeed market share of large trucks has grown from 12.1% Sept. 2010 to 13.7% Sept. 2011 – this is crazy!

    It is not businesses who are buying them. The market share of pickup trucks was 9.7% in 1979 – now it is 16% so extra 6% is for personal use.

    Gas price will continue to climb because China’s car sales are growing despite of economic uncertainties. So people who are buying gas guzzlers are going to pay for it very soon.

  • Heags

    Why isn’t Tesla on the list?

  • Max Reid

    Its possible that many companies are trading their V8 Pickup for V6 Pickup. Also the lower gas prices in the last 2 months would have made people think that gas prices will keep going down.

    Recently Saudi Arabia announced some $130 billion package for pay rises for their people, consequently they also raised the price of their light crude by few $.

    If the World’s economy recovers, oil prices will rise fast again.

    DaveH : Tesla stopped producing their Roadster, next year they will launch their Model S Hatch.

  • Max Reid

    Yegor : There is big difference between NADA stats and WSJ stats.
    As per NADA, CUVs outsell Mid-size Sedans. Looks like at this rate, CUV could outsell Sedan’s some day. WSJ considers Explorer and Grand Cherokee & Durango as SUV while these vehicles have car chassis and is only CUV.

    Also Hybrid sales are 18,690 as per NADA and 17,625 as per Does this mean Sonata-H should have sold more or the difference is from Optima-H.

  • Ricknb

    I do not know why hyrbrid sales numbers are down in the USA but in Canada they are going nowhere but down.
    #1 Conventional cars are closing the gap on fuel efficiency spreads with hybrids
    #2 We pay a large premium for hybrids with no incentives and no low % rates
    #3 Extended warranties on hybrids cost more
    #4 No automakers in Canada make hybrids and therefore have better incentives for cars made in Canada
    #5 All dealers make most of their profit from maintenance of your car and do not want hybrids because they know whats next (Electric Cars) ie I’ve owned a rechargeable mower for 15 years and have not spent a dime on gas or maintenance!

    But this may soon change , I just heard this week Toyota Canada will be selling the Prius V $600 cheaper than the regular Prius current price.

  • william edwards

    I am disappointed in the Volt numbers…Did the GM employee LIE to me when she told me they had reached 4000 vehicles per month off the line back in August???

  • Yegor

    How about Buick Regal eAssist?
    It is already on sale.

    It is a full hybrid just with a small battery. It is even listed as hybrid on website.

    I think that it sales should be included in the Hybrids table.

  • lowashington

    I don’t believe the Buick Lacrosse is categorized as a hybrid. It does, however have a “range- extender” option marketed as “E-Assist”m which has just been launched this fall.

  • Watt DeFark

    +1…haven’t the Optimas been out for a month at least? They should have showed up in both August and September sales.

  • Yegor

    An interesting article that shows EPA fleet average fuel economy for different manufactures:

    Hyundai has the best EPA 26.7 MPG
    Chrysler has the worst EPA 19.2 MPG
    GM is pretty bad at EPA 20.4 MPG

    Chrysler and GM is nowhere near 2011 CAFE assumed target of CAFE 30.2 MPG which equates to EPA 23 MPG.

    As I said before CAFE regulations are full of loopholes (light truck, now “footprint”) so CAFE regulations are simply not working. 🙁

    Don’t expect that CAFE will boost the Hybrid Market share. It is not working 🙁

  • Yegor

    Adding a big gas tax would be unpopular in these days with the recession because it will increase US produced goods cost. Although a 10 cents increase per year for 10 years would not significantly increase goods cost and should be passable.

    I think more importantly CAFE regulations should be completely changed. A very simple regulation that would work would be to set a CAFE target for every year (For example it is 30 MPG for 2011 – EPA 23 mpg). And all vehicles that do not achieve EPA 23 mpg should pay a penalty of $1000 per 1 mpg under the standard.
    It is simple and it will work – no loopholes.

  • Yegor

    Where is VW Passat TDI?

    VW reported that it sold 6,137 TDIs in September.

    According to your table VW sold 5,211 TDIs.
    So it means that VW sold 926 Passat TDIs in September.

  • Yegor
  • Max Reid

    GM to launch Chevy Spark – EV

    Its good for 4 passengers and price should be less than 25K, since its much smaller than Miev.

    If Buick Lacrosse Hybrid is already in sale, then it should be included in this list and the numbers should be higher.

  • Yegor

    Prius is back – Finally there is financing offer on Prius + 2 yr/25K mile complimentary scheduled maintenance:
    – 2.9% APR for 60 months
    – or $500 cash back
    – Also save with ToyotaCare 2 yr/25K mile complimentary scheduled maintenance.

  • Max Reid

    So despite the Prius being available fully, could it sell only 9,000 + units last month. Prius V at local dealer starts @ 31K +. Probably they are selling the high end model.

    BTW, Civic-H 2012 with the Lithium Battery iis available for sale, but the prices in local dealerships start @ 24.8K. No wonder its selling so low. And Civic is closed in Japan also. Ideally Honda can bring the Fit-H and Fit Shuttle-H in USA to compete with Prius C & Prius V.

    If the hybrid prices are so high, people may just flock to the upcoming Ecoboost & Ecotec from Ford & GM.

  • Yegor

    Prius was available only in limited numbers up to now – this financing deal is just appeared – that is why I am saying that Prius started to come in good numbers to US just recently.

  • Dirtbag

    Who cares these Adolfomobiles ?

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    The major reason for the decline of the hybrid sales have been because of the day by day rise in fuel prices.
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    The hybrid system is long in the tooth, and requires a major and expensive redesign. They decided to do this in the c-max, and will include a plug-in. The c-max is a major effort involving bringing the manufacture of the psd in house from aisin. Aisin supply problems were blamed for production problems with the escape. They also have shifted batteries to lithium and away from toyota majority owned pev supply. These are major logistical changes and may involve production hiccups. iPhone

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