Hybrid car sales have dropped 3% in February compared to last February, despite the one extra day of sales. Sales from Toyota and Honda were down, while Ford and Nissan hybrid vehicle sales increased. GM still doesn't share their sales (why????). Total sales through 2008 are up 10%, even without the GM sales added in.
On a side note, I saw in a story yesterday that GM had sold under 200 of their new Yukon and Tahoe Hybrids in January.
Honda hybrid sales have continued to suffer in comparison as the Accord Hybrid (retired) continues to wind down. Civic Hybrid sales declined 6%.
Toyota sales declined 3%, mostly on the depression of Prius sales. Part of that decline can be attributed to the record sales Toyota had last February, as their production roadblock had been removed. While Toyota should expect Prius sales to be increased as the year continues, it seems production of the Prius has hit a high point, so the increase will not be as high as you could expect.
Still, the Prius makes up 50% of the hybrid marketplace all by itself. Add in all the other Toyota and Lexus models and Toyota dominates the hybrid marketplace with over 80% of all hybrid sales coming from them.
Toyota did have a remarkable increase in sales of the Camry Hybrid. Highlander Hybrid sales held steady with a 2% increase, while Lexus hybrid car sales were down. Both the GS 450h and RX 400h showed declines.
Ford increased sales of their Escape and Mariner Hybrids by 3%, while Nissan had an increase of 157% from last February. This marks the one year anniversary of the Nissan Altima Hybrid, so that percentage should be taken in context.
One important note about hybrid car sales this year is the limitation on production. Last year, hybrid sales increase by almost 38%. This year, an increase of sales will come from new models, as car makers limit sales on their hybrid cars until they can show a profit.
Ford expects to show a profit this year as their two new models come online. Nissan limits sales of the Altima Hybrid to only eight states. GM hybrid sales have been limited so far because of their mild nature (about 100 per month). It's unclear how well they'll do with their new 2-mode hybrids, but until they start separating out those sales, it's hard for an outsider to even guess.
Toyota was able to increase sales on the Prius by separating the production of the Camry Hybrid and the Prius. But now the Prius is one of the top 10 cars being sold, it's hard to imagine sales to increase dramatically for them. It's possible we'll see the overflow onto the Camry hybrid this year.
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