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|
|Honda Civic Hybrid||-37.64%||565||906||-35.89%||4703||7336|
|Honda FCX Clarity||-100.00%||0||3||-88.24%||2||17|
|AMERICAN HONDA TOTAL||-46.84%||1819||3422||-5.90%||31584||33564|
|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|
|FORD MOTOR TOTAL||-13.88%||2402||2789||10.91%||27114||24446|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid/GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid||29.75%||205||158||-51.32%||1165||2393|
|Nissan North America|
|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 MOTOR TOTAL||12.90%||23172||20524||-5.58%||178587||189147|
|Volkswagen Diesels (Jetta, Golf, etc.)||na||na|