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2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

For the first time in what feels like ages, a small handful of automakers were actually able to post positive sales numbers as they reported July sales this week. On the currently-available green car side of the books, strong demand for the new Prius and the Cash For Clunkers program helped push hybrid sales upwards.

Overall, hybrid sales were up 35 percent in July compared to a year ago (non-hybrid vehicle sales fell 13 percent compared to July 2008, according to numbers crunched by Green Car Advisor). Prius sales jumped to 19,193 units sold in July 2009, the best month for the iconic car since April 2008. The Lexus RX450h, the Ford Escape hybrid, the Nissan Altima hybrid, the Ford Fusion hybrid and the Toyota Camry hybrid all saw double-digit sale increases compared to June 2009. The Honda Insight, as we've heard already, didn't have as big a success story: the new Insight sold just 2,295 units in July (up 10.4 percent for the month) while sales of the Civic hybrid sunk 38.8 percent compared to June.

So, is this upward trend a fluke thanks to the extra $4,500 from CARS or are people ready to get back into the showroom and buy hybrid vehicles again?

[Source: Autoblog, Green Car Advisor]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 1 Month Ago
      I'm not sure that this is entirely due to CARS. Keep in mind that the sales numbers are year-over-year and what happened last year? A big run up in gas prices caught dealers flat footed. They did not have many fuel efficient cars on the lot. They built inventories in the next few months and by the time they were ready to sell...? Gas prices tumbled. So, they have a glut of fuel efficient cars on the lot and want to move them. Comparing to last year, the sales numbers look up. I would read the year-over-year sales numbers carefully.

      Look a little closer at the short term numbers and you see that Civic hybrid sales dropped from last month. Does that make sense since CARS should have figured into this? Watch what happens the month or two after CARS expires for a true understanding of the short term effects.
      • 1 Month Ago
      This is pointless when you consider acording to Edmuds sales were down in the preceeding months, meaning those same sales would normally have been spread out April -> July instead of all bunched up in July. Instead you'd want to compare the current quarter to the same quarter last year.
      • 1 Month Ago
      So all the irresponsible douchebags with SUVs and SUPPORT THE TROOPS stickers on their bumpers get a $4500 discount on their new hybrids while responsible people need to pay full price.

      The mentality of people in this country is truly incredible.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Rick,

        I don't see why an ahole in an Escalade or $40K GMC needs a nudge. The responsible folk are the ones who stuck to their means and can't afford more....so why give the other aholes a free ride?

        Let em rot.
        • 1 Month Ago
        so…all SUV owners are irresponsible douchebags…how intelligent of you! There are people out there that have legitimate use for such a vehicle. some even spend the extra for a (rare) hybrid model so they can still tow their boats to the lake with their 3 kids and a ton of camping gear–and get 20-21 mpg city!

        then again this is autoblog GREEN where if it's not hybrid or electric it's automatically blasted as "gas guzzling" and "irresponsible"

        wake up already.

        That said, I'm not about to defend the guy spending $57k on an escalade when he makes $40k/year and then complains that the payments are killing him. People do need to learn to live within their means…I hope the recent economic situation has helped with the schooling!
        • 1 Month Ago
        Well, yes. Those that aren't responsible need the help, the nudge. Responsible people already have a decent car so are in need of less nudge.

        aside- I don't think everyone with an SUV is irresponsible or a douche, they do serve a purpose. Some families just won't fit in a Prius.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Without a doubt, CARS is the reason.

      At today's gas prices, the average consumer is still unwilling to pay the extra cost for a hybrid.

      But......if the gov't kicks in $4500, they get the hybrid for the cost of a regular car....
        • 1 Month Ago
        You “Progressives” are a compassionate lot aren’t you?

        Too bad you use your hearts instead of your heads… THINK!

        This Cash for Clunkers program is an assault on the working poor who have no credit, and don't have the cash to afford a new car. This program will lead to FEWER used parts and FEWER cheap used cars available which is the ONLY way many of the "working poor" actually get to and from work…. more unemployment!

        So, the Progressives just print up more money and run up the public debt which will cause inflation so that the things the poor NEED such as food, utilities, clothes etc. all cost more. Then the progressive increase the minimum wage so the poor can afford these higher prices but the small businesses instead lay off employees or don’t hire or expand because labor is too expensive.

        Then the progressives just increase taxes on the small businesses in order to pay for more redistribution, welfare, unemployment and so on so small business contract some more and on and on it goes…

        Not only is this program a socialist redistribution, it actually HURTS the poor. It does however help the unions, auto dealers, big auto, politicians and of course those banks making new car loans. (the rich just get richer)

        Eco-Fascism at it's worst!

        (Unintended consequences! Progressives are deaf, dumb, blind AND stupid!)
        • 1 Month Ago
        This just shows we don't need a gas tax, $$ incentives are much more effective with none of the nasty side-effects. The fact people were buying these hybrids even though they weren't required to just shows their IS pent-up demand for efficient cars.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Polo,

        I disagree.

        We need more of these incentives and we need a gas tax increase to pay for them......
      • 1 Month Ago
      Interesting that Ford hybrids outsold the those of Honda, Nissan, and GM combined. And the Fusion hybrid outsold the Camry hybrid.
      • 1 Month Ago
      One of the things that the hybrid makes need to do to make their cars more acceptable is increase the POWER output in all-electric mode. Not range, power. I want to be able to do 0-40 in under a week on electric alone. Note that this would also mean that the top all-electric cruising speed could rise (assuming proper transmissions).

      As it stands, most people never get the promised mileage due to under-reialnce on the all-electric modes.

      It would also help if the gas pedal had some kind of feedback point (a "bump", say) when going past the all-electric region. But I guess that would be too weird in the test drive.
      • 1 Month Ago
      The way I look it as kind of like this

      It's hard to dislike a $4500 credit to get clunkers off the road, anyone who has an old car would probably love the idea of being handed $4500 as a down payment to buy a nicer car.

      It's all nice, save the environment, get ugly old cars off the road, free money, and stimulating the economy.

      Except maybe it isn't?

      My bank sent me a letter the other day, they were giving me $2000 of free cash. Except they weren't they had notified me that due to spending money carefully I was getting the extra $2000 credit limit I "deserved". It wasn't free money, it was a credit limit increase. Whenever government comes up a solution that offers some one money for a noble purpose even when the purpose is noble, its like offering the public a credit limit increase, the money must come from somewhere, and we the public have to pay it back.

      When I see the credit limit increase I was happy, I thought I had more for emergencies. Though I was quick to look at what was the interest rate, and how long would it take me to pay this back,

      As a people what are our emergencies, Earthquakes, Hurricanes like Katrina, attacks from multiple strong nations?

      Today we as a nation are spending the same percentage of our GDP (our nation's wealth) as we did during World War II. More than we did during Vietnam. The recession/depression isn't an emergency, it hurts and it's painful.

      What position does it leave us in as public when we spend money like it's an emergency when it isn't. Have you ever known someone who ran up credit card debt like it was an emergency when it wasn't? What happened? How did they turn out when an actual emergency finally came? If we keep this up what will happen to us if we are attacked, what would happen if a very powerful Earthquake were to hit Los Angeles, or San Francisco other major cities, what would happen to us?

      Is this cash for clunkers program the biggest source of our money problems, probably not, but we as a people can't face our money problems until we learn to turn down "free" things, even when they sound nice.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Yes it is cars for clunkers that is causing this, I don't know why people would think otherwise.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Because they refuse to accept any Democrat/Obama legislation might have actual benefits. When you see people posting the same "gov has no money to pay for this" line over a $1billion-dollar program in every thread about this, its obvious this is all about politics.
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