in partnership with Polk

Hybrids Worldwide

"Top 5 global hybrid markets" based on vehicle registrations January – September 2007.

and "Top 5 US hybrid markets" based on vehicle registrations January – September 2007.

Hybrid sales in November repeated the common theme for 2007: The hybrid market is growing while the overall vehicle market remains stagnant. Comparing November of this year to the same time in 2006, the hybrid market expanded by 80 percent, while the overall car market receded by 2 percent. Total monthly hybrid sales for November defied the usual fall slump, coming in at 33,313 or 2.8 percent of the market.

The jump in hybrid sales was spurred by unseasonably higher gas prices. The average national gas price was up nearly 25 cents per gallon from the beginning of November to the month’s end. With these higher gas prices, and incentives offered by Toyota in certain regions, sales of the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Camry Hybrid returned to summer levels. The Prius and Camry—leaders of the hybrid pack—reported unit sales of 16,737 and 5,118 respectively.

Some journalists and market analysts had looked at low sales numbers posted for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid in October, and misread that all hybrid SUVs had taken a nosedive—rather than attributing the dip to the 2008 Highlander model year transition that reduced available inventory. With the new Highlander in production and shipping to dealers, the Highlander Hybrid has regained its position as the most popular hybrid SUV—with 2,577 units sold in November.

As we approach the end of the year, it looks as if hybrid sales should hit 350,000 units this year, nearly a 100,000-unit increase from 2006.

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 2007 volumes based on sales-to-date.

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (November 2007): 33,315

US hybrid sales for November 2007

Model Units vs. 10/07 vs. 11/06
Altima 1191 28.5% n/a
Prius 16,737 27.2% 109.0%
Civic 3,238 41.6% 46.6%
Accord 204 -16.0% -34.4%
Camry 5,118 45.8% 65.1%
Highlander 2,577 3332.4% 54.6%
RX400h 1,674 20.3% 26.1%
GS450h 100 40.8% -43.2%
LS600hL 170 -2.9% n/a
Escape 1,846 1.6% 39.5%
Mariner 378 41.6% 134.8%
Vue 21 110.0% n/a
Aura 61 35.6% n/a
All hybrids 33,315 36.0% 77.9%
All vehicles 1,180,269 -4.2% -1.6%

U.S. hybrid sales for November 2007 by manufacturer and model

United States Sales by Make

U.S. hybrid market historical sales (1999 – 2006) with 2007 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 have put over 8,000 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 68,887
2 Florida 13,857
3 New York 13,119
4 Texas 12,981
5 Washington 9,967
6 Illinois 9,959
7 Virginia 9,177
8 Pennsylvania 8,438
9 Massachusetts 7,606
10 Arizona 7,148
11 New Jersey 6,977
12 Maryland 6,730
13 Oregon 6,595
14 North Carolina 6,388
15 Colorado 6,044

*Registrations CYTD September 2007

States where hybrids are most popular

Rank State New Hybrids per 1000 Residents*
1 California 1.907
2 Oregon 1.811
3 Washington 1.585
4 Vermont 1.560
5 District of Columbia 1.504
6 Colorado 1.296
7 Connecticut 1.262
8 New Hampshire 1.299
9 Virginia 1.213
10 Arizona 1.204
11 Maryland 1.202
12 Massachusetts 1.189
13 Nevada 0.992
14 New Mexico 0.979
15 Rhode Island 0.968
  US State Average 0.818

*Registrations CYTD September 2007

Metropolitan areas with the highest hybrid sales

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids*
1 Los Angeles 30,752
2 San Francisco 20,268
3 New York 15,256
4 Washington, DC 9,853
5 Seattle 8,423
6 Chicago 8,018
7 Boston 7,954
8 Philadelphia 6,642
9 Sacramento 6,015
10 Phoenix 5,902
11 San Diego 5,489
12 Portland, OR 5,440
13 Denver 5,327
14 Minneapolis-St. Paul 4,213
15 Dallas-Ft. Worth 3,977

*Registrations CYTD September 2007

Metropolitan areas where hybrids are most popular

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids per 1000 Households*
1 Portland, OR 13.364
2 San Francisco, CA 8.604
3 Monterey, CA 7.085
4 Santa Barbara, CA 5.939
5 Los Angeles 5.554
6 San Diego 5.349
7 Bend, OR 5.161
8 Charlottesville, VA 5.118
9 Seattle 4.949
10 Sacramento 4.469
11 Washington, DC 4.374
12 Eugene, OR 4.231
13 Palm Springs, CA 3.853
14 Denver 3.764
15 Burlington, VT 3.752
  US Metro Area Average 1.793

*Registrations CYTD September 2007

Looking Ahead

With little sign of a new hybrid that will significantly alter the market in the next year, the recent hybrid buzz is all about plug-in hybrids. Despite the fact that so-called clean diesels will soon begin shipping, and reporting actual sales, the desire for that next big breakthrough has put plug-in hybrids in the headlines. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also dominate the program of industry conferences like the recent EVS23 international electric vehicle symposium in Anaheim, California.

It’s anybody’s guess as to when a major carmaker might offer up a plug-in hybrid at local neighborhood dealership. For all appearances, General Motors is moving full speed ahead on its Chevy Volt, which was targeted for production of tens of thousands of units by 2010 or 2011. GM has a lot of work ahead of them to bring the Volt to market, so this date may gradually migrate into the future.

The Ford Motor Company presented an Escape plug-in hybrid SUV to the utility company, Southern California Edison, at EVS23. The delivery was the first of 20 such vehicles that mark a partnership between the two companies to “advance the commercialization of PHEVs.” Ford’s Sue Cischke, senior vice president, sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said “Cost, durability and reliability issues all need to be addressed before these vehicles can make a significant impact on the global issues of climate change and energy security.”

Plug-in hybrid demonstration projects from Ford and others, and GM’s promotion of the Volt, have put pressure on Toyota to talk more about its own plans to produce a plug-in version of the Toyota Prius. The next generation Prius, planned for release early in 2009, almost certainly will not offer plug-in capability, but the company allowed journalists at EVS23 to test drive a plug-in prototype equipped with extra nickel-metal hydride batteries granting 7-mile all-electric range.

Plug-in hybrids may eventually produce revolutionary changes to the automotive market—but not in this decade. For those concerned with short-term numbers, the growth of the U.S. hybrid market from approximately 350,000 in 2007 to a half-million or more in the next few years will be evolutionary—and built on hybrids sans plug like full-size SUV hybrids from Detroit, the 2009 Toyota Prius and Honda’s new dedicated global hybrid also expected in 2009.