Hybrid Sales Are Up

Hybrid car sales in June were up 9 percent from a year ago and rose 2 percent compared to last month—outperforming the overall new car market that was down 28 percent from June 2008 and off 7 percent from May.

June hybrid sales suggest that hybrids are recovering more quickly than the overall car market—just as they defied the economic downturn several months after overall car sales started to decline in 2008. June marks the sixth consecutive month of higher hybrid sales.

Nationally, car dealers sold 26,205 hybrids in June, the highest one-month total in 13 months. Hybrid car sales numbers exceeded 3 percent of the new car market, and could reflect the beginning of an anticipated long-term trend in which hybrid market share grows by as much as 1 percent every year. Dozens of new hybrid models will be introduced in the next few years. The world’s largest carmakers are significantly investing in increased production capacity for hybrid cars and advanced auto batteries.

The overall market continues to suffer, but declining sales have begun to slow down for four of the six major carmakers. Ford reported the smallest drop of 10.7 percent. Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com told Associated Press, “It is unlikely things will get any worse.”

The Toyota Prius led the hybrid pack with 12,998 sales, representing 49.6 percent of all hybrid sales in June. The vast majority of Prius sales—85 percent, according to Toyota—came from the new 2010 model. The introduction of the new Prius apparently affected sales of the 2010 Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid, which declined by 25 percent and 42 percent respectively, compared to last month. Sales of the Ford Fusion Hybrid continued to gain momentum, jumping nearly 10 percent compared to May.

Rising gas prices—from $2.28 per gallon in May to $2.64 last month—may have contributed to an increase in hybrid sales in June.

A full report on June hybrid sales will be posted later this month at the HybridCars.com “Hybrid Market Dashboard.”