U.S. alt-fuel vehicle sales for December showed mixed results relative to a year earlier, as gains by Toyota and Nissan were offset by lagging sales from Honda and Ford. For the year, hybrid vehicle sales by Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda were hampered by supply issues stemming from the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan last March, which also likely pulled down overall 2011 numbers.

Toyota Motor Co., the world's largest maker of hybrids, sold 23,172 Toyota and Lexus hybrids in December, up 13 percent from a year earlier. Toyota Prius sales were up 8.7 percent, while the launch of the redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid pushed that model's sales up 46 percent. Toyota also benefited from last year's debut of the Lexus CT 200h hatchback, which added 2,259 vehicle sales last month.

December alt-fuel sales also benefited from more demand for battery-electric and extended-range plug-in vehicles.

December alt-fuel sales also benefited from more demand for battery-electric and extended-range plug-in vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and General Motors' Chevrolet Volt, both of which debuted with relatively small numbers in December 2010. A year later, GM sold a monthly record 1,529 Volts, up from 326 a year earlier, while Nissan sold 954 Leafs, up from just 19 vehicles 12 months prior. And Mitsubishi marked its first full month of sales for its i electric vehicle with 76 vehicles sold.

Such gains were offset by lagging hybrid sales from Honda and Ford. Honda's hybrid sales in December plunged 47 percent from a year earlier to 1,819 vehicles, as all three of Honda's hybrids – the Civic Hybrid, the CR-Z and the Insight – had year-over-year sales declines of at least 36 percent. Insight sales were down 58 percent.

Meanwhile, Ford, which has been pushing its gas-powered vehicles that get at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway, also had December sales declines for its hybrids. Ford Fusion Hybrid sales dropped 40 percent and more than offset higher sales by the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKZ Hybrids. Overall, the U.S. automaker's hybrid sales fell 24 percent from a year earlier to 2,402 vehicles.

Adding slightly to the December alt-fuel total was Volkswagen, which sold 5,980 diesel-powered vehicles, up 14 percent from a year earlier.

Toyota's hybrid sales totaled 178,587 vehicles, down 5.6 percent from 2010.

For the year, Toyota failed to close the gap caused by its mid-year supply issues and ended 2011 down in hybrid vehicle sales. The company's hybrid sales totaled 178,587 vehicles, down 5.6 percent from 2010. The Prius, which accounted for more than three-quarters of Toyota's hybrid sales, moved 136,433 vehicles, down 3.2 percent, while all of the Lexus hybrid models that debuted before 2011 had lower sales last year. For the year, the Camry and Highlander Hybrid sales were each down more than 35 percent.

Meanwhile, Honda's hybrid sales fell 5.9 percent last year to 31,584 vehicles, as higher CR-Z sales – the sport coupe debuted in mid-2010 – were offset last year by a 26-percent plunge in Insight sales and a 36 percent drop in Civic Hybrid sales.

Ford finished 2011 up – albeit slightly – in hybrid vehicle sales. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which debuted in September 2010, quadrupled its sales to 5,739 vehicles and more than offset the effect of declining sales for both the Ford Escape and Fusion Hybrids. Overall, Ford's hybrid sales last year rose 1.4 percent to 27,114 vehicles.

Finally, Nissan sold 9,674 Leafs, finishing just 326 vehicles short of its goal to sell 10,000 of the battery-electric vehicles during the model's first full year in the U.S. Additionally, for the year, GM sold 7,671 Volts.

BRAND/COMPANY Vol% Dec. 2011 Dec. 2010 Vol% 2011 2010
American Honda
Honda Civic Hybrid -37.64% 565 906 -35.89% 4703 7336
Honda CR-Z -35.62% 564 876 115.85% 11330 5249
Honda FCX Clarity -100.00% 0 3 -88.24% 2 17
Honda Insight -57.85% 690 1637 -25.82% 15549 20962
AMERICAN HONDA TOTAL -46.84% 1819 3422 -5.90% 31584 33564
Audi
A3 TDI na na 3.82% 3609 3476
Q7 TDI na na 7.57% 3689 3430
Ford Motor Co.
Ford Escape Hybrid 23.15% 1080 877 -9.77% 10089 11182
Ford Fusion Hybrid -40.32% 888 1488 -6.51% 11286 12072
Lincoln MKZ 2.36% 434 424 381.46% 5739 1192
FORD MOTOR TOTAL -13.88% 2402 2789 10.91% 27114 24446
General Motors
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid/GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid 29.75% 205 158 -51.32% 1165 2393
Chevrolet Volt 369.02% 1529 326 2253.07% 7671 326
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi i na 76 0 na 80 0
Nissan North America
Nissan Leaf 4921.05% 954 19 50815.79% 9674 19
Toyota Motor Co.
Lexus CT 200h na 2259 0 na 14381 0
Lexus GS 450h 10.00% 33 30 -7.54% 282 305
Lexus HS 250h -75.56% 274 1121 -73.14% 2864 10663
Lexus LS 600h L -47.06% 9 17 -34.88% 84 129
Lexus RX 450h -19.67% 1233 1535 -29.08% 10723 15119
Toyota Camry Hybrid 45.98% 1797 1231 -36.65% 9241 14587
Toyota Highlander Hybrid -40.67% 563 949 -38.66% 4549 7416
Toyota Prius 8.73% 17004 15639 -3.17% 136463 140928
TOYOTA MOTOR TOTAL 12.90% 23172 20524 -5.58% 178587 189147
Volkswagen
Volkswagen Diesels (Jetta, Golf, etc.) na na
Note that some automakers do not break out hybrid sales figures from sales figures of their non-hybrid counterparts, and therefore cannot be accurately reported.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Volt is GM's cheapest hybrid vehicle. Amazing. That is pretty sad.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        whoa! The quit on their other hybrid's? Wow.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          oh I believe you spec, I was just shocked. I was pissed to hear that Ford was halting the escape hybrid, but they, it is being replaced with two new hybrids, so it isn't as bad. Gm's hybrids were always the 'lite' hybrids, but I just assumed they were still out there. Gotta give it up for the volt then. While gm was saying, 'hey everyone, look over here!' they were doing other stuff while we didn't notice.
      krona2k
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is the Honda FCX Clarity even listed, it's not a production vehicle despite what Honda say.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @krona2k
        In a similar vein, they *didn't * report numbers for the Mercedes F-Cell. Like the Clarity, it is a limited-lease testing situation. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2011-mercedes-benz-b-class-f-cell-first-drive-review
        PR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @krona2k
        That's a good point. The Honda FCX Clarity -100.00% sales statistic is pointless because you can't buy one if you wanted to. It would be fun to mock them for a 100% reduction in sales, but that isn't even fun considering that that statistic means absolutely nothing at all. It's like saying that EV1 sales are down 100% from the 1990's. Totally irrelevant.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          They're talking about leases per month. But yeah.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          @joe :D
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          It should be -300% but I guess they can't divide by zero (like Chuck Norris can).
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @krona2k
        Yeah, you can't really say that the FCX is losing ground. It was simply an early generation of an FCV and wasn't meant to be a long term, high volume car. When they announce an FCV targeted at long term sales volumes, then we can start to judge the success of those cars. I'm not a big fan, but it is too early to judge FCVs. Wait till 2015-2017 for that discussion.
          JP
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          That will still be too early to judge FCV's ;) Actually you can judge them quite well right now, eternal fail.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          As krona2k pointed out, it should not be considered at all. It is not a production vehicle. It is merely a massive money-losing demonstration project.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      All I can say is that if you go the GM site and look at hybrids & electrics, it only shows 5 cars and the cheapest one is the Volt: http://www.gm.com/content/gmcom/home/vehicles/browseByType.html#/?price=120000&brand=all&type=hybrid_electric
      mchlrus1
      • 2 Years Ago
      What about Hyundai/ Kia, they're in the race now? Oh that's right their hybrid drive system is neither practical, green, efficient, and is priced too high. Really $25,850, and only 37 city and 39 highway! If I want a hybrid, I would want it to have better city mileage.
      porosavuporo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi i sold 80 in US 2011 ? Is that official ?
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hm, not to toot my horn but this is in line with my predictions.. 1) FCX Clarities collecting dust 2) Honda getting their ass handed to them due to their inferior design. CRZ and Civic Hybrid may as well be on the chopping block. 3) Prius continuing to sell like hotcakes. 15k units per year with no tax breaks is awesome compared to how the sales #'s started. No, it's not the shape or the 'image' of the car, it's because it's the best hybrid money can buy, still, over a decade after it's introduction. 4) Leaf and Volt outselling many models of cars per month.. even though 'electric doesn't work' and 'nobody wants electric'... ;)
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        That was why I posted the top 10 worst selling cars. All were selling poorly, and neither the leaf or volt was on the list! As a bonus to Dan especially, many were SUV's
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      One thing that needs to be factored in to these, and any numbers for the sales of cars: How many of them were affected by the earthquake in Japan? Other than the Chevy Silverado (which I think was a problem with that hybrid implementation) the US hybrids did better, or at least lost less than the Japanese hybrids. Considering that Japanese cars don't seem to be losing ground to American cars usually, I'm wondering if some of these losses were due to lack of production for a while?
      EVdriver
      • 2 Years Ago
      Honda FCX Clarity (2010->2011): 17 -> 2 : -88.24% Hydrogen is the fuel of the future and it always will be. LOL! :)
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVdriver
        Be nice. You might hurt gorr's feelings.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVdriver
        @EVdriver I'm not really a fan of FCV technology. But, although it seems to be lagging far behind in the alternate fuel race, neither can such a technology be completely discounted. Hydrogen has it's adherents! No alternative fuel to Oil should be completely discounted. After all, over 80 years before the invention of the electric or ICE automobile, a hydrogen powered vehicle had been demonstrated!
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          They "lag" behind... because the cars themselves are fine. But without infrastructure, "THERE CAN BE ONLY NONE!" Well, only a few leased out to pre-selected drivers who live/work around a subsidized hydrogen station. On the other hand, any gasoline or diesel vehicle has thousands of fueling stations build already courtesy of over 100 years of slow, incremental infrastructure expansion alongside the evolution of motor vehicles. Oh, and Plugin cars take advantage of the electrical infrastructure that evolved with modern living. Hydrogen infrastructure doesn't stand much of a chance to compete. Sure, there is a need for a 300 mile range and 5 minute refill... but that just means that we will always have Internal Combustion technology to supplement our needs.
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVdriver
        It doesn't mention how many were delivered in 2009, but it's obvious that Honda hasn't delivered anywhere near the 200 they'd originally planned for, more like 1/10th what they'd planned. Sales of the Leaf and Volt were somewhat less than planned, but much closer to their 10,000 target, and vastly greater than the FCX Clarity. Even the Mitsubishi i and all of the hybrids did better.
      electronx16
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe 2011 was a rather mixed year from an alt fuel/tech perspective, but between growing demand for oil in Asia, stagnant oil supply and conflict brewing in the Middle East the oil price really has nowhere to go but up this year, so I reckon alt fuel/tech vehicles will become an increasingly attractive proposition for consumers in 2012. Also 2012 is the moment of truth for the euro. If the current attack on the euro fails and the euro comes out stronger with governments getting their budgets under control and confidence restored, that could herald the end of the ailing dollar as the world's leading reserve/petro currency. That would have interesting consequences for gasoline prices and therefore demand for alt fuel vehicles.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        @ electronx16 Interesting viewpoint. On the one hand I was hoping for a stronger US dollar, although for the US a weak dollar helps exports,and deters imports, something the US economy desperately needs. Certainly the Euro's main hope of rescue is the support of the petro-dollar.
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