Last month, Toyota pitched its hybrid vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show by partnering with Hasbro to make a Monopoly-inspired road course inside McCormick Center's South Hall.

The concept proved prescient as the Japanese automaker appeared to further dominate competitors such as Ford and Honda when it came to U.S. hybrid sales last month. Toyota, which appeared to benefit from both rising U.S. gas prices and what was likely pent-up demand for hybrids that were supply-constrained last year, increased February hybrid vehicle sales by a whopping 60 percent from a year earlier to 27,458 vehicles. Prius sales jumped 52 percent from February 2011 to 20,589 vehicles while the Toyota-branded non-Prius hybrid vehicle sales grew even faster, at an 81 percent clip. The company didn't break out sales figures for its other hybrid models, but with Toyota reporting an overall Camry sales increase of 22 percent, the newly redesigned Camry Hybrid was likely a major factor.

Additionally, Toyota's Lexus division doubled February sales from a year earlier to 2,645 vehicles, with the newer Lexus CT 200h most likely making an impact on those numbers.

Toyota's competitors weren't so fortunate.

Toyota's competitors weren't so fortunate, however, as Ford and Honda buyers appeared to opt for fuel-efficient conventionally powered vehicles over hybrids in an effort to save gas and money. Ford's February hybrid sales dropped 24 percent from a year earlier to, 1,963 units, with the small increase in Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales more than offset by a 20-percent drop in Ford Fusion Hybrid sales and a 45-percent decline in Ford Escape Hybrid sales. Such results contrasted with Ford's overall performance last month, as vehicle sales rose 14 percent from a year earlier. Ford, which more than doubled unit sales of its fuel-efficient Focus, is hoping for a boost in its alt-fuel demand from the soon-to-debut Ford Focus Electric. That vehicle was just given an EPA rating of 105 miles per gallon equivalent, making it officially more efficient than both the Nissan Leaf battery-electric and the upcoming Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

As bad as Ford fared in hybrid sales last month, Honda fared worse. The Japanese automaker's hybrid sales plunged 41 percent from a year earlier to 1,981 vehicles. While Civic Hybrid sales were up 39 percent, CR-Z and Insight sales both dropped at least 55 percent from February 2011.

Whether the Volt sustains its momentum remains to be seen.

As for electric-drive vehicles, General Motors' Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicle beat out the Leaf in February sales, with the Volt moving 1,023 vehicles – more than tripling February 2011 sales – and Nissan selling 478 Leafs, a sevenfold increase from a year earlier. Whether the Volt sustains its momentum remains to be seen, as General Motors is halting Volt production for five weeks in order for dealers to get some of the plug-ins off of their lots.

With U.S. gas prices jumping about 20 cents a gallon last month to $3.74, Volkswagen boosted its sales of its more fuel-efficient diesel-powered models by 55 percent from a year earlier to 6,513 vehicles. Audi, however, reported a 26 percent drop in its diesel vehicle sales from February 2011 to 390 vehicles.

Finally, Mitsubishi, which debuted its i battery-electric vehicle in the U.S. late last year, moved 44 units, up from 36 in January. See a chart of all these number after the jump.
COMPANY Vol% Feb. 2012 Feb. 2011 Vol% YTD2012 YTD2011
FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Ford Escape Hybrid -45.41% 434 795 -40.76% 779 1,315
Ford Fusion Hybrid -19.51% 1,110 1,379 -26.70% 1,721 2,348
Lincoln MKZ 6.08% 419 395 -12.16% 672 765
TOTAL -23.59% 1,963 2,569 -28.36% 3,172 4,428
VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen Diesels 54.83% 6,513 4,206 43.34% 11,302 7,884
GENERAL MOTORS
Chevrolet Volt 264.06% 1,023 281 170.10% 1,626 602
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA
Nissan Leaf 613.43% 478 67 649.35% 1,154 154
AUDI
A3 TDI 37.41% 253 184 -1.51% 646 656
Q7 TDI -60.06% 137 343 -31.54% 447 653
TOTAL -26.02% 390 527 -16.49% 1093 1309
TOYOTA
Toyota Prius 52.07% 20,589 13,539 32.97% 32,144 24,174
All other Toyota hybrids 80.62% 4,224 2,339 68.50% 7,311 4,339
Lexus Hybrids 107.80% 2,645 1,273 84.45% 4,608 2,498
TOTAL 60.10% 27,458 17,151 42.09% 44,063 31,011
MITSUBISHI
Mitsubishi i na 44 0 na 80 -
PORSCHE
Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid -3.52% 137 142 -21.70% 249 318
Porsche Panamera Hybrid na 34 0 na 73 0
TOTAL 20.42% 171 142 1.26% 322 318
AMERICAN HONDA
Honda Accord Hybrid na - - na - -
Honda Civic Hybrid 39.29% 741 532 0.42% 1,190 1,185
Honda CR-Z -57.29% 466 1,091 -58.24% 829 1,985
Honda Insight -55.11% 773 1,722 -61.39% 1,265 3,276
TOTAL -40.81% 1,980 3,345 -49.05% 3,284 6,446


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Further illustrates my point that the Volt is not failing.. I'm quite amazed at how bad Honda is doing, considering their cars are so cheap. And... poor Leaf... :(
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        It's amazing the Volt is stomping on the Insight. Reflects on how far Honda has fallen. Frankly, I hope the Leaf numbers are just because Nissan didn't route so many to the US (the numbers fluctuate significantly month to month) - I don't want plug-in numbers falling because of no customers for anyone at this point. Nissan's got a factory in TN to open and I want them to do it. Nobody seems to know how many were imported for the month and that is what will give the real picture for the Leaf.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          I haven't followed what exactly has happened with Honda, but wtf? Old engines, and none of the wild anticipation that was out there when a new Honda was coming out. It wasn't that long ago that any Honda was a must have in any class. They certainly are not awful, but when looking at the C class car for example, we see the Cruze rocketing up the sales charts, the Elantra with the new Hyundai design (and winning road tests against the lot), the Focus and it's handling, and....Consumer Reports says the new Civic isn't as good as the old one. I don't think anyone loses when they buy a Honda, but wow... a big wtf with them...
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          The Honda hybrids never got great mileage (except for the original Insight with the great aerodynamics). And then that recent battery issue and subsequent court case probably gave them quite the black-eye.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Yeah, the Volt is outselling the vast majority of hybrid cars on the market. There are a lot of hybrids available that are selling next to nothing . . . less than a few hundred a month. See this list: http://h11.abload.de/img/hybridpzkl7.jpg
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota is going to retake their crown back from GM in no time. They are really running away with the hybrid sector and I'd bet it will be fast growing. The Prius C will be a runaway success. Increase the size of the plug-in Prius battery and it could be a decent success too.
        Peter
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Meh, the Plug in Prius is a weak EV that makes the Volt look like good value. The Plug In Prius 11 or 14 or even if you double the battery and get 25 will still need to turn on the ICE when you accelerate at anything above slow or attain highway speed (unless we reduce the limit to 55 and drive 60). Price it above the Volt (they won't double the battery for free) and require it to consume gasoline for the average commute and it won't sell at all.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        The Volt has better capabilities, but for a frugal person - no way to justify it. The Prius C with a base price of $19K? Tough to beat. I certainly would like to see something competitive from Ford - the Focus certainly has the capability to be, with that MINOR exception of price (see note above on frugal). It would be nice if the C-Max was in the range of the regular Prius...but will have to wait and see. Fusion Energi for under $30k? Prolly not....
          george costanza
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          looking more and more like prius c for a replacement for wife's car. due to toyota having superior technology and last time I was there every single vehicle in service bay was a prius. that was a cool feeling for a 'change'. I would love to be like every other modern country and not have to drive at all except on vacations/wkends etc...not an option in US..you are blackmailed by big oil. have to do whatever you can to use as little as possible...remember the less people who use oil, they will make up the diff. by continuing to make up reasons to raise it as high as possible....as well as make up for shortfall for warmer winter due to fossil fuel pollution they cause and right wingers actually have said this in the local newspaper.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Ezee The Prius C is not a real comparison to the Volt. It's a completely different class of vehicle.
      george costanza
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2010 prius as rising gas prices have been obvious for some time for anybody with a brain. however the choice was made much easier by the fact there are currently no other hybrids except pseudo hybrids and wobbly insight until lately. and leaf and volt sell a few hundred a mo. due to no infrastructure in US. hell VW probably just spent more than entire US r and d on elec. infrastructure and clean tech in the national budget. as in 55 bill accor. to the other article.
      .cj
      • 3 Years Ago
      ... haha, the oldtec prius outsells the newtec volt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Danny, You left out the 1,248 Buick LaCrosse and 350 Chevy Malibu hybrids that were sold last month.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      As to the question of Volt Sales momentum (highlighted in the article)...March will be the first month of HOV carpool lane qualified Volt's in CA (a golden ticket to sales in CA) and sales should be seriously juiced in March - would not be surprised to see a record broken for the Volt. Hopefully Leaf sales rebound - March sales numbers will be very telling as Ghosn was saying (in December I think) they were shooting for 20k of sales in the US this year. Hopefully CA Leaf sales are not affected much by HOV PIP and HOV Volt sales. Make no mistake CA is powering plug-in sales of all types.
      Yegor
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is so exciting to see Hybrid sales to cross 3% market share!!! Hybrid took 3.16% market share. Wow! It is 3rd highest Hybrids market share in history of US sales. There were 3.3 percent in April 2008 (a time of rising fuel prices) and 3.6 percent in July 2009 (the beginning of the cash for clunkers program). Kudos to Toyota!!!
      Yegor
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gas price is on the way to cross US average $4 in March. The previous two times it happened Hybrids were in limited availability. Now with two more new Priuses I think we can see Hybrids crossing 4% market share in March!
      Yegor
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hybrid sales were whooping in Japan! Prius: 35,875 Aqua (Prius C): 21,951 How about that! Toyota has some other top sale models that have a Hybrid version (Vitz, VELLFIRE, Alphard) but I do not know how many of them are hybrid sales. More than half of Honda Fit 24,973 sales are hybrids too. I think Toyota crossed 1.2 million hybrids global sales per year mark! http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.jada.or.jp/contents/data/ranking/index.php&ei=HhsJTKzrE8X_lgevqZ3cDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC4Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.jada.or.jp/contents/data/ranking/index.php%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      The super-lightweight FT-Bh concept from Toyota is awesome, and comes in a variety of configurations: 'TMC, expecting hybrid vehicle use to become widespread in the second half of the 2010s, developed the FT-Bh as a B-segment, ultra fuel-efficient concept car under the theme of “ecomotion” (eco + emotion). In addition to the FT-Bh on display, TMC said it has conceived two alternative versions: a compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid version with CO2 emissions of 38 g/km and a plug-in hybrid version with CO2 emissions of just 19 g/km. By pursuing weight reduction, a more-efficient powertrain and reduced air resistance, the FT-Bh offers fuel consumption of 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers (112 mpg US) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), with CO2 emissions of 49 g/km—less than half the current average for B-segment cars. ' http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/03/ftbh-20120306.html At 786kgs using inexpensive materials and with a CD of 0.235 Toyota have a solid basis to continue leadership in fuel efficient vehicles.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lets face it. Toyota makes the best hybrids. They are hands down better than Honda's and not much more expensive.
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