• Nov 6th 2010 at 8:25AM
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2011 Honda CR-Z – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's that time of month again: October's sales numbers are in and gas-electric hybrids soared to a five-month high. Truth be told, the recent trending suggests that November's sales figures for hybrids may continue to climb even higher.

Let's dive in. October's sales of all hybrids, which includes cars, light trucks and SUVs, jumped up by 7.1 percent over September sales figures. Sales volume for October hit 22,254 units, the highest mark reported since May of this year. In addition, the market share for hybrids climbed to 2.54 percent, an 11-month high.

These sales numbers may have been sparked by some newer entries that are capturing buyer's attention. In particular, Honda's sporty CR-Z racked up 1,419 sales, nearly 200 more than in September. The Lincoln MKZ hybrid also joined the party and tallied a reasonable 366 sales in October, compared to just ten the previous month. All in all, hybrids continue to fare quite well, but outside forces like gas prices often influence a buyer's decision and we know that hybrid sales could tank if pump prices bottom out.



Photos copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Has it even been a couple of months since we got an article here bewailing the poor sales of hybrids and saying hybrids are doomed unless the price of gasoline goes up? Here the message is that the burst in sales is doomed if the price of gasoline goes back down.

      The only thing is, the price of gasoline has been stable and has not changed during that period.

      Shallow, easy, uninformed opinion needs to be left out of these articles or at least label them that way. I join Ziv in asking for more facts instead.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I had the same thought.

        Nothing like mixed messages to instill faith in a publication.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't know about the rest of the country, but the gasoline prices have been rising slowly but steadily for the past two months. Also, the economy is slowly recovering. Those two items may be the main reasons why hybrid sales are rising.
      • 4 Years Ago
      More from the Oil & Gas Journal:

      http://www.ogj.com/index/article-display/6730734723/articles/oil-gas-journal/general-interest-2/economics-markets/2010/11/market-watch__crude1.html

      You buy your hybrid before the SPIKE, because during a panic they get sold in days.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey look! Hybrid sales are going up, but the price of gas is not. OMG. Who would have thought that automobile consumption is actually cultural? There was certainly no evidence during the last 10 years of the SUV boom when people were buying bigger, less-fuel-efficient cars even though gasoline prices were rising (until 2008). No evidence at all to suggest that car buying is cultural.

      Now will people please shut the hell up about raising taxes on the lower and middle classes with higher fuel excise, and focus on building good products that people are happy to buy? Is the green movement ready to grow out of its teenage obstinacy (wanton emotional deregulation and militant opining) and into a consumptive reformation that might actually help the planet, stimulate domestic manufacturing, and narrow our trade deficit? Are we there yet? or are we going to continue to vilify inanimate objects like gasoline and internal combustion engines?

      Pro-green is a lot more effective than waging war against the establishment with fuel taxes. This isn't politics, and damn any private citizen who tries to make it politics. Grow up and learn how to use persuasive speech instead of punitive legislation.
        Noz
        • 4 Years Ago
        Perhaps you're not explaining yourself very well but the way I'm interpreting your statements is as follows and I'll address you accordingly but correct me if I miss understood you:

        You honestly have no clue what you are talking about. Just because monitoring hadn't occurred earlier, it doesn't mean we don't have an idea of what effect we've had on the environment.

        It doesn't change the facts that we are having a serious effect and all the regulation and legislation in the world won't change until our habits change. As we can see, the environmental changes are now occurring at a pace faster than we could ever imagine. So what do you want to legislate now then?

        It's obvious people like you are more interested in making excuses to continue your "way of life" rather than have any concern or regard for future generations. Clearly the last couple of generations have pissed away and eroded the quality of life for this current generation and the generations to follow. I can feel it and see it and smell it...the generations that follow me and you will REALLY have it much harder in many ways. They may also realize how screwed they are if, every once in a while, raised their heads away from their crackberries and Iphones to notice what's going on

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Imo, it's sad how little faith green people have in their own movement. They are so convinced that failure is imminent so they attempt to oppress the citizens with taxes while granting economic subsidies to guarantee the success of the new PC industry."

        Well put. What's worse, is that they're constantly changing their goals regarding which PC industry they want to succeed. For a while they want subsidies for flex-fuel, then they want subsidies for hydrogen, then they want subsidies for hybrids, then they want subsidies for batteries...

        It's difficult for a government to pick winners - that's what the market does. The government certainly has a regulatory role to play (EPA, NHTSA, DOT, etc) and I have no problem with joint programs to encourage the makers to work with universities and national labs to develop new technologies, but in the end, those new technologies should be able to stand on their own, and find their own place in the market based on the values they deliver to the consumer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The United States was founded upon ideas and persuasive speech.

        If you cannot explain to people why it is important to close our trade deficit by eliminating oil imports, you've already lost. If you can't explain that oil demand is soaring but oil supply is not, you've already lost. If you cannot explain why reducing-pollution is important (without writing laws), you're doomed.

        For a very brief period in time 10-15 years, the culture of SUVs created a populace who were indifferent to the economic needs of our state. It would be myopic, and convenient for the people with control impulse neuroses, to base regulatory theory upon a temporary consumption trend that has already ended due to market forces and cultural awakening.

        I don't particularly care if businesses have to be regulated a bit b/c they are not people, but anyone who advocates burdensome regulation on the citizens of the US (cap and tax, fuel excise, taxpayer subsidies for PC industry) is not friend of the green movement or the US.
        Noz
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why would be have faith in a "movement" when clearly that movement has failed us?

        The last half the previous century has caused more human damage to the environment than the last 5000 years previous to that.

        So you want me to have faith?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "They may also realize how screwed they are if, every once in a while, raised their heads away from their crackberries and Iphones to notice what's going on"

        LOL, because insulting anyone with a Blackberry or an iPhone will make the environment better...

        In that case, the first thing you should do is step away from your keyboard, and turn your computer off.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ GoodCheer

        Cultural automobile consumption is not a thesis. For the last 10 years of the SUV boom people were paying a lot more money for drastically less efficient vehicles. SUVs were the cultural "it" car and most drivers said they likes SUVs for the high driving position. Consumers were paying 40,000 for land yachts that got 14/19 b/c they wanted the same cars as their friends. It was entirely fashion, vanity, and status of excess. It had little to do with the price of gasoline, it had even less to do with the exorbitant prices which also did very little to curtail demand.

        There isn't a way to redistribute the revenues of regressive taxation. One middle class guy drives 15,000 miles another lady drives 5,000 miles. How do you plan to redistribute? One size fits all tax credit, or are you going to let the IRS keep track of gasoline receipts? Furthermore, income phase out for the deduction or credit would be completely arbitrary and it wouldn't account for the cost of living variance across the US. AMT already slaughters people unfortunate enough to live in California or the Northeast (or any high-cost-of-living location). Gas credit phase out would punish people in the same areas.

        Finally, fuel taxes interfere with quality b/c they create artificial consumptive incentives. It's bad enough with the hybrid subsidies (the subsidies should be extended to all fuel-efficient autos) and electric subsidies. If efficient autos are indeed superior according to cultural, mechanical, cost, and quality evaluations, then the auto manufacturers should have no problem demonstrating it to the people.

        Imo, it's sad how little faith green people have in their own movement. They are so convinced that failure is imminent so they attempt to oppress the citizens with taxes while granting economic subsidies to guarantee the success of the new PC industry. It's disgusting, and I'm more than happy to say it now that we have a positive data point that defies green voodoo economics. The newness of the CR-Z is driving sales. That is a complete cultural novelty--newness. No need to jack up gas prices or flog the piss out of people with cap and trade. If your ideas are good, you win. If you force everyone to adopt your good ideas, it is actually possible to snatch crushing defeat from the jaws of victory. That's another lesson we learned this week on Tuesday.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Now will people please shut the hell up about raising taxes on the lower and middle classes with higher fuel excise, and focus on building good products that people are happy to buy?"

        How exactly does discussion of fuel tax among bloggers, economists, or policy-makers inhibit the development of products 'that people are happy to buy', which would be carried out by automakers?

        While gas tax is regressive on it's own, as I'm sure you know it's perfectly possible to redistribute the revenues to compensate. Such a system could easily be made progressive (ie. a net benefit to the working poor).

        If you thesis that car sales are driven only by "what's cultural" is correct, then there's no reason to think that the popularity of fuel efficient cars will continue into the future. If you want to reduce our petroleum imports, what do you suggest that would be more efficient than increasing the price of the stuff?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "wanton emotional deregulation and militant opining"
        Your poetry means little.

        "[green people [[sic]] are] constantly changing their goals regarding which PC industry they want to succeed"
        No they're not. Most environmental organizations are in favor of a carbon tax and/or cap and trade, and elimination of the direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuel. The CAFE and rebates and tax credits that we get instead are what's politically feasible thanks to a craven political leadership and scientifically illiterate populace.

        You're crazy if you think cultural changes and "persuasive speech" alone will get us the immediate greenhouse gas reductions we need to avert catastrophic global warming. (Politicians instead endorse 80% reduction in CO2 by 2050 because they'll be DEAD AND BURIED by then.) But maybe the cultural changes and persuasive speech will lead us to elect politicians with the guts to go against the fossil fuel industries and implement a carbon tax.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sorry, but that is just piss poor.

        People never bothered to monitor (scientifically) the impact of global pollution until the 1950s or 1960s. Since that time, pollution has been drastically reduced via minor legislative overhaul on businesses. We changed gasoline rules, we change particulate matter rules, we've changed chemical dumping laws, we've changed fuel-efficiency rules, etc.

        A vast majority of those have been minor changes to the way businesses conduct themselves b/c businesses are not governed by the same cultural influences that affect individual consumers. We've never maimed consumers and intentionally sought to increase poverty and lower the standard of living until certain wayward idealists starting throwing around ideas like massive gas-excise taxes and cap-and-trade policy that would onerously burden the consumer. They are not restricted to any one particular think tank or political party.

        The sadism of these ideas is predicated upon negative-consumptive trends like the SUV boom and academic economic theory like Pigovian taxation (which Pigou acknowledged is impossible). I respect their right to theorize and use persuasion to argue for social/cultural change, I even respect their right to regulate (within reason) the goods we purchase. I do not respect their right to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by punishing consumers in the name of progress.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Cultural automobile consumption is not a thesis."
        Well, technically it is, but never mind that. The more you argue that it is unequivocal fact, the stronger you make MY point that 'then there's no reason to think that the popularity of fuel efficient cars will continue into the future.' Right?

        "There isn't a way to redistribute the revenues of regressive taxation." Simple progressive income tax rebate.
        "One middle class guy drives 15,000 miles another lady drives 5,000 miles." That's the point. We want to reduce consumption, so we want to encourage that guy to find alternatives, move closer to work, or think harder about fuel economy next time he buys a car.
        "are you going to let the IRS keep track of gasoline receipts?" We're not trying to pay people for the gas tax they pay, we're trying to reduce demand for gas by making it more expensive.
        "it wouldn't account for the cost of living variance across the US." True, it won't be a perfectly equitable system, but I think you will find that cost of living correlates VERY will with both access to public transportation, and (inversely) to VMT.

        "Finally, fuel taxes interfere with quality b/c they create artificial consumptive incentives." I'm not sure what quality you're referring to. I think you are absolutely wrong. The artificial consumption incentives are due to NOT paying for external costs associated with production and consumption of gasoline.
        "If efficient autos are indeed superior according to cultural, mechanical, cost, and quality evaluations, then the auto manufacturers should have no problem demonstrating it to the people." I have not argued that they are, as things stand now. If energy has a low cost, efficiency has very little value. I'm simply arguing for a simple market mechanism to reduce petroleum consumption, without unduly burdening the poor.

        letstakeawalk: "For a while they want subsidies for flex-fuel, then they want subsidies for hydrogen, then they want subsidies for hybrids, then they want subsidies for batteries..." While there may be societal benefits in helping new industries get off the ground, this discussion started out being about gas tax, which would incent all vehicle technologies that use less gas. It would do just what you ask: -Not- pick winners; but leave it to the market.

        mylex: "If you cannot explain to people why it is important to close our trade deficit by eliminating oil imports, you've already lost." I didn't think that explanation was necessary. Is there anybody in the room who does not understand this concept? Also, how do you propose to get your message to everybody, all the time. Also, just because people understand something does not mean they will act on it.

        "For a very brief period in time 10-15 years, the culture of SUVs created a populace who were indifferent to the economic needs of our state." SUV sales still outnumber hybrid sales by about 5:1, and pickups outsell hybrids by about 7:1. [There is some overlap in those classes].

        "We've never maimed consumers and intentionally sought to increase poverty and lower the standard of living until certain wayward idealists starting (...)." Surely you must be joking. Do you really know so little of early American industrial history?

        Please correct me if I'm wrong, but your suggesting that national energy policy should be based on articulate and impassioned pleas to consumers to buy fuel efficient vehicles, and drive them as little as is practical. Which they will do consistently and diligently for the common good of the country, in the absence of economic motivations.
        That sounds pretty socialist to me. I prefer a market-based system.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, what is that strikingly handsome car in the photos? Is that some hybrid wundercar of the future? is that some sort of concept masterpiece of automotive?
      Amazing!

      I have NEVER seen that car on autoblog before.

        • 4 Years Ago
        It's the Honda CR-Z, and it has been on Autoblog Green before, just not that particular color. It is a brand new car introduced this year, that may be why you haven't seen it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish articles like this would have a list at the bottom, no photos, no click to view, just list the amount of cars sold.
      Prius sold x
      Ford Escape Hybrid sold y
      Honda Insight sold z

      And to really show my age...

      Just the facts, ma'am.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "What i take from these numbers is that the CRZ sold a thousand or some units because it just came out. Whenever a new model is released, there is a sales spike."

        It couldn't possibly be that people are simply choosing to buy an attractive coupe that gets reasonably good mpgs from a manufacturer that has an excellent reputation for quality*?


        *excellent reputation among real world car buyers, who aren't aware and don't really care that IMA isn't the preferred hybrid system among ABG readers

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/26/most-reliable-cars-honda-_n_774293.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm with you. All the florid prose are much less useful than the bloody numbers.

        Luckily, the source article has them just as you'd wish.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, that would be nice wouldn't it. Many of us are capable of thinking for ourselves here.

        What i take from these numbers is that the CRZ sold a thousand or some units because it just came out. Whenever a new model is released, there is a sales spike.

      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gas is relatively cheap right now. Hybrid sales seem to be closely tied to the price of gas.
      http://no3maxpump.net/
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