Data released today by Ford points to the fact its newly launched Fusion Hybrid is well received in the marketplace while appealing to a younger demographic.

Ford said the new hybrid is off to a fast start after achieving an all-time sales record in December 2012, helping Ford to reach record hybrid sales and market share.

The company also said Toyota lost nearly 8 points of share in the segment.

Since launching the new C-MAX hybrids and Fusion Hybrid this past fall, Ford says they led it to deliver record-setting hybrid sales in December, resulting in a 9 percent market share gain to 16 percent.

During that same period, Ford pointed out that Toyota’s share of the hybrid vehicle segment fell 8 points, from 68 percent to 60 percent.

Ford said it sold more hybrids in the fourth quarter of 2012 than in any other three-month period in the company’s entire history with 19,554 units sold, besting its own previous hybrid vehicle sales record by more than 193 percent.

An all-time record of 3,244 Fusion Hybrids were sold in December, compared to the previous mark of 3,010 in August 2010. The car is expected by Ford to achieve record January sales when results are announced Feb. 4.

Among buyers, nearly 70 percent of new Fusion Hybrid owners are new to the Ford brand, Ford said, while Toyota’s conquest rate for its Camry Hybrid is only 53 percent.

“We’re bringing new hybrid buyers into the market, many of whom wouldn’t be considered traditional hybrid buyers,” said Amy Marentic, marketing manager, Global Small and Medium Cars. “There’s a sense hybrid buyers represent a pragmatic or green ethic. Fusion Hybrid is scoring with these audiences, but the car also puts some excitement into the segment through design; it shows hybrids can have beautiful and sophisticated styling. This, in turn, means different buyers.”

Not only are most buyers new to the Ford brand, but the company said early data suggest Fusion Hybrid is appealing to younger buyers outside the traditional hybrid vehicle demographic.

New Fusion Hybrid buyers are five years younger than buyers of the previous Fusion Hybrid, Ford said, dropping to 48 years old from an average of 53 years old.

2012 model year Toyota Camry Hybrid buyers have an average age of 54, according to J.D. Power and Associates PIN data. Moreover, 22 percent of Fusion buyers are under the age of 35; only 13 percent of Camry Hybrid buyers are.

Not surprisingly, Fusion Hybrid’s best-selling markets are San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., but Ford reports stronger sales in the more traditional buying areas of the Central, Southeast and Great Lakes regions – areas not known for strong hybrid sales. In these areas, retail sales more than tripled in December compared to the previous year.

Ford also said the Fusion Hybrid continues to have the fastest turnover rate (the number of days cars sit on dealer lots waiting to be sold) of any vehicle in the Ford lineup. Fusion Hybrid turns over in just 10 days on average.