in partnership with Polk

November 2008 Hybrid Market Dashboard Summary: Car sales went from bad to worse. Even sales of fuel-efficient vehicles lagged as tight credit, recession fears, and falling gas prices eroded demand for small cars and hybrids.

Hybrid Heatmap

This month, we are pleased to introduce a new feature to our monthly hybrid market dashboard: a graphical and geographical look at hybrid trends. In this month’s version, we show where you can find the nearly 1.2 million hybrids in use in the United States (viewed on a state basis). This is a snapshot view of the total number of hybrids in use in July. In future months, we’ll look at hybrid popularity, growth rates and other geo-based stats. See more regional data below.

Hybrid Heatmap

Analysis of November Sales Numbers

Hybrids Worldwide

"Top 5 global hybrid markets" based on vehicle registrations CYTD September 2008.

and "Top 5 US hybrid markets" based on vehicle registrations CYTD September 2008.

In November, car sales went from bad to worse as sales volumes fell a bruising 37 percent from a year earlier. Even sales of small, fuel efficient vehicles lagged as tight credit, recession fears, and falling gas prices eroded demand for small cars that had surged just months earlier. Hybrids, which generally have outperformed the overall car market in recent months, fell faster than conventional vehicles in November, posting a 50 percent sales decline from a year earlier.

With sales volumes at their lowest levels in decades, gas prices racing toward $1.50 per gallon, and automotive CEOs begging for federal financial assistance, the short-term prospects for hybrids have diminished. Yet in this challenging environment, automakers are more committed to hybrids than ever. Toyota and Honda are moving forward with planned vehicle launches next spring, and have confirmed their plans for new hybrid models.

Detroit Three also have announced plans to move aggressively into hybrids and electric-drive vehicles. GM promises 15 hybrids by 2012 as well as additional plug-in hybrid models like the Chevrolet Volt. Ford has committed to launching a family of electric drive vehicles by 2012 that includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric vehicles (including an all-electric commercial van). And Chrysler reaffirmed its commitment to a hybrid Dodge Ram pickup and detailed plans for a freeway-capable electric vehicle produced in large volumes by 2010.

These announcements signal a shift in strategy for the Detroit Three, who have placed electric-drive technologies at the heart of their recovery plans. Perhaps these automakers now realize that advanced vehicles (including hybrids) can be a key way to differentiate their products and attract consumers who, in time, will return to the market.

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 2008 volumes based on sales-to-date.

Hybrids sold in the US (November 2008): 16,5365

US hybrid sales for November 2008

Model Units vs. last month vs. November 2007 CYTD vs. CYTD 2007
Prius 8,660 -26.6% -48.3% 151,025 -9.6%
Camry 2,174 -22.1% -57.5% 42,201 -14.8%
Highlander 907 -11.3% -64.8% 18,501 -3.9%
RX400h 624 1.5% -62.7% 13,737 10.0%
LS600hL 37 -32.7% -78.2% 930 n/a
GS450h 42 90.9% -58.0% 627 -58.4%
Civic 1,043 -35.7% -67.8% 30,261 2.1%
Escape 1,185 33.5% -35.8% 16,150 -16.7%
Mariner 176 -18.1% -53.4% 2,223 35.5%
Yukon 190 1.6% n/a 2,009 n/a
Malibu 195 -40.0% n/a 1,934 n/a
Vue 328 7.3% 1,461.9% 2,729 25.4%
Tahoe 404 8.6% n/a 3,217 n/a
Aura 45 104.5% -26.2% 252 -65.9%
Altima 353 -36.3% -70.4% 8,109 9.2%
Escalade 173 -24.8% n/a 495 n/a
All hybrids 16,536 24.8% -50.4% 293,147 -8.3%
All vehicles 747,544 -10.9% -36.7% 12,351,399 -16.3%

U.S. hybrid sales for October 2008 by manufacturer and model

United States Sales by Make

U.S. hybrid market historical sales (1999 – 2007 with 2008 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 put over 19,000 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 63,312
2 New York 14,362
3 Florida 13,344
4 Texas 13,274
5 Illinois 10,241
6 Virginia 8,659
7 Washington 8,565
8 Pennsylvania 8,120
9 Arizona 7,719
10 New Jersey 7,634
11 Massachusetts 7,563
12 Maryland 6,395
13 North Carolina 6,169
14 Ohio 6,059
15 Colorado 5,256

*Registrations CYTD September 2008

States where hybrids are most popular

Rank State New Hybrids per 1000 Residents*
1 California 1.752
2 District of Columbia 1.658
3 Oregon 1.388
4 Washington 1.362
5 Vermont 1.321
6 Connecticut 1.304
7 Arizona 1.300
8 New Hampshire 1.259
9 Massachusetts 1.182
10 Virginia 1.144
11 Maryland 1.142
12 Colorado 1.127
13 Nevada 1.074
14 Hawaii 1.006
15 Alaska 0.960
US State Average 0.820

*Registrations CYTD September 2008

Metropolitan areas with the highest hybrid sales

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids*
1 Los Angeles 28,244
2 San Francisco 17,557
3 New York 17,115
4 Washington, DC 9,047
5 Chicago 8,137
6 Boston 7,782
7 Seattle 7,079
8 Philadelphia 6,593
9 Phoenix 5,562
10 San Diego 5,731
11 Sacramento 5,614
12 Denver 4,631
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul 4,283
14 Portland, OR 4,231
15 Dallas-Ft. Worth 4,095

*Registrations CYTD September 2008

Metropolitan areas where hybrids are most popular

Rank Metropolitan Area New Hybrids per 1000 Households*
1 Portland, OR 10.394
2 San Francisco 7.453
3 Santa Barbara, CA 5.912
4 Monterrey, CA 5.874
5 San Diego 5.585
6 Los Angeles 5.101
7 Charlottesville, VA 4.459
8 Sacramento, CA 4.171
9 Seattle 4.159
10 Washington, DC 4.016
11 Phoenix 3.952
12 Helena, MT 3.836
13 Palm Spring, CA 3.804
14 Eugene, OR 3.463
15 Eureka, CA 3.377
  US Metro Area Average 1.812

*Registrations CYTD September 2008