Hybrid car sales increased from April 2005 to April 2006, but not as much as you might expect. Ford had record sales, while Honda and Toyota sales were mixed. The problem, according to Toyota US President Jim Press lies in the supply.
USATODAY.com - Lack of supply reduces hybrid sales
"We sold down our inventory. We're down to a two-day supply," says Toyota U.S. President Jim Press. "The fact is, demand has never been higher."
For Toyota, the release of the Toyota Camry Hybrid has reduced hybrid supplies available for the Toyota Prius. That limited the number of sales they were capable of making last month.
Buying the Toyota Prius typically requires a wait of a couple of weeks up to four months and the Prius and Civic sit on lots for less than 10 days. The average car takes 57 days to move off of the lot.
The Honda Civic hybrid supplies were limited by supplies, but sales of the Honda Accord Hybrid have been slipping. The Honda Accord hybrid is a performance hybrid which uses the electric engine to assist the gas engine for more power, rather than better mileage.
Ford, on the other hand, had room to grow, allowing it to double its sales.
At best, Press said Toyota Motor Sales can double its U.S. hybrid sales from last year, when it sold 146,560 units.
As for the future, Press said Toyota is short of the engineering resources to accelerate its plans to bring new hybrid models to market.
"Expanding hybrid volume requires increasing the number of vehicles that have the hybrid option available," he said. "That's driven by engineering resources, and it's difficult to accelerate that."