Hybrid Car Sales Through October, 2004 to 2006 ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid Car Sales Through October, 2004 to 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hybrid Car Sales Through October, 2004 to 2006

I recently read an article over at Autoweek, talking about which hybrid cars were hot and which were not. It peaked my interest on how hybrid sales were doing this year, compared to last, so I decided to look back into it and see how the various cars were doing.
As you can see in the image, different hybrids mean different types of sales. The Prius is the most popular hybrid on the road today. From 2004 to 2005, Toyota doubled sales, but in 2006, sales have remained the same. The lack of increase is being blamed on a production bottleneck, and I believe it. Given the quick turnaround in selling a Prius, Toyota just can't make them fast enough.

It should be noted they are making more now that the Camry Hybrid is being built in the US, and no longer taking away from the Prius production. It remains to be seen how the cut in tax credits for Toyota will affect the remaining 2006 car sales.

Honda Civic Hybrid sales remained stable in 2004 to 2005, and have increased in 2006. But Honda Accord sales have decreased dramatically. The Accord hybrid was created with performance, not fuel economy, in mind. Given the high cost of gas, sales have plunged as buyers aren't willing to pay the hybrid premium for a very little upgrade in performance.

What you can't really tell from the graph is Insight sales were actually up this year. But given the Honda Insight is no longer in production, it's really a moot point. The two-seater was just too niche to make a large impact.

Ford has seen a good increase in sales from 2005 to 2006 for its Escape Hybrid (the Mercury Mariner Hybrid is grouped in with the Escape Hybrid, given they are sister models with the Mariner being the luxury model). From about 13 thousand sales in 2005 (through October) to about 19 thousand sales in 2006, Ford is making a small dent in the hybrid marketplace.

One interesting note from the Autoweek article. GM sold about 700 Vue Hybrids last month. That's not a bad start, but not a great one, either. To put that number in perspective, Ford sold 1602 Escape/Mariner Hybrids and Toyota sold 1643 Highlander Hybrids and 1239 Lexus RX 400h hybrids in October. That puts GM squarely in fourth place (out of four) when it comes to the hybrid SUV market.

The remaining hybrids out today were introduced in 2005 or 2006, so I did not include them in my analysis.

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