U.S. sales of advanced-powertrain vehicles in July had their slowest year-over-year growth rate in three months, and below-peak gas prices may be putting domestic consumers in a little less of a frenzy when it comes to lowering their refueling bills. Additionally, electric-vehicle sales stalled, another small indication that the American public remains somewhat hesitant to plug in full time.

Automakers sold more than 39,000 hybrids and plug-in vehicles last month. That marked an impressive 66-percent growth rate from July 2011's total of more than 23,000 units, but which represented the slowest growth rate since April's 54 percent. Alt-fuel sales in June doubled figures from 2011.

The slowdown may reflect how the lack of a summer spike in gas prices is coaxing more people back into their old buying habits of less fuel-efficient vehicles. U.S. regular gas, while rising by roughly eight cents a gallon to about $3.53 a gallon last month, stayed well below their early April peak of about $3.90 a gallon, according to AAA.

Toyota maintained its lengthy lead as the biggest U.S. hybrid maker, more than doubling its alt-fuel sales from 2011.

Toyota maintained its lengthy lead as the biggest U.S. hybrid maker, more than doubling its alt-fuel sales from a year earlier to 23,044 units. Prius sales more than doubled to 16,643 vehicles, with the Prius C compact and Prius V wagon each accounting for about 3,000 units and the Prius Plug-in moving 688 vehicles. Toyota's other hybrid models boosted sales more than sixfold, likely on the popularity of the redesigned Camry Hybrid (Toyota didn't break out sales), while Lexus hybrid sales were up marginally.

General Motors also continued to see big year-over-year gains on both the popularity of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and this year's introduction of its mild-hybrid Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Regal and Buick LaCrosse e-assist models. The Volt moved 1,849 units, marking the model's second-best monthly total (after March's 2,289) and representing more than a tenfold jump from a year earlier. The Volt also surpassed the 10,000-unit threshold for the year. Overall, GM's alt-fuel sales surged to 5,067 units from just 277 a year-earlier.

Ford also entered the world of year-over-year alt-fuel sales gains for a change, boosting its July sales by 13 percent to 1,791 units, primarily because Fusion Hybrid sales more than doubled from July 2011. Lincoln MKZ sales jumped 24 percent to 594 units, partially offsetting the effect of a 92 percent plunge in Escape Hybrid vehicles sold.

German automakers Volkswagen and Audi stayed just ahead of last year's diesel-sales pace, with each boosting year-over-year sales by 2.5 percent to 7,993 units and 643 units, respectively.

Most notably, Nissan continued to experience lagging sales of its Leaf, whose sales of 395 units marked a 58 percent plunge from a year earlier.

On the flip side, automakers looking to boost electric-vehicle sales were likely disappointed by July's results. Most notably, Nissan continued to experience lagging sales of its Leaf, whose sales of 395 units marked a 58 percent plunge from a year earlier. Year-to-date sales were down 26 percent to 3,543 units.

Additionally, Ford sold just 38 Focus Electric vehicles, down from 89 in June, while Mitsubishi's sales of its i EV matched its June total of 33 units after hitting a monthly high of 85 vehicles in May.

Honda also recorded the first sales of its leasable-only Fit EV, with seven units moved last month.

Honda also continued to disappoint with hybrid demand – its July sales of 1,227 units marked a 44 percent plunge from a year earlier. While Civic Hybrid sales jumped 51 percent from a year earlier to 471 units, CR-Z and Insight sales dropped 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Honda also recorded the first sales of its leasable-only Fit EV, with seven units moved last month.

Porsche also had lower sales of its hybrids, falling by 27 percent from a year earlier to just 95 units sold.

Through the first seven months of the year, U.S. alt-fuel sales were up 56 percent to more than 304,000 vehicles. Toyota has accounted for almost 193,000 of those, while Volkswagen has moved more than 50,000 diesels. GM sold almost 30,000 alt-fuel vehicles year-to-date, marking more than a fivefold jump from a year earlier.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      Jesse Gurr
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am still curious about the Civic CNG. I thought they would sell good cuz they get a free ride in the carpool lane. It has been a while since they reported any sales with it. They include the Clairty, which didn't sell(read: leased) any this month, but not the Civic CNG?? I'm pretty sure it sold more than the Clarity.
      PeterScott
      • 3 Years Ago
      More AB sensationalized headlines. Sales slowed? They up ~60% higher than last year. OMG! how can they stay in business with sales slowing like that? Come on guys, you can do better than this.
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not a terrible article, Danny, but please do the ABG crowd a favor by pointing out how Leaf sales may have been suppressed due to the severe premature, permanent battery degradation seen in many hotter areas. Also, don't forget to express skepticsm about Ghosn's claimed 20,000 total for 2012, revised to "Nissan Fiscal Year" ending March 2013, and underperforming the 600-700 claimed until Smyrna comes on line. That's what the national narrative is highlighting to explain the Leaf situation, and will likely continue to do for the foreseeable future. Just like the Volt fires, Nissan is going to have to get past this or it's going to keep eating at them.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        I presume you're being facetious? Because I find it mildly funny when ABG does this. They seem to pay the writers to link to other AB and ABG articles (for traffic), so those old hot button issues keep showing up. But this whole article is so full of links I doubt there is any advantage to adding any more. It filled its quota and then some.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          More educational than factious. The EV crowd tends to circle jerk amongst themselves, as a big echo chamber about how their cars are saving the planet. They don't look at outside news reports until they are pulled in, and they're completely clueless as to how they're perceived outside their circle. I'm on the outside, and I'm seeing lot more Leaf = failing in the general, mainstream media.
          Marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          @ SVX pearlie There's a sad measure of truth in your comment.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        Leaf sales were poor before the Arizona battery problem. Let's see.. + They said it went 100 miles, but it really does about 75 + They offered it at $32k to start, now it's $35k.. + Turns out that the battery did not perform well in the winter.. but that got fixed.. i think? + Turns out that the battery does not survive >120F temperatures too well. I was the one who was rooting for the Leaf early on. But i did not know the truth about the car in the real world. Electric cars still have a way to go. I'm sad to see how the Leaf turned out, but i believe it is much like the Ford Model T; it opened up the gates for mass production of EVs.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          IMO, the problem with the Leaf was that it was rushed to compete with the Volt. There is nothing we're seeing that could not have been addressed over another 6 months of shakedown to ensure that US (global) customers got a fantastic car. It's obvious that the Leaf was designed in and for Japan, which just doesn't have the temperature extremes or longer-distance driving that we see in the US. Had Nissan partnered with Ford or Chrysler, either of them would have done the detailed Montana and Death Valley testing needed to ensure proper longevity and performance, or at least managed expectations better.
      SNP
      • 3 Years Ago
      So who's going to argue with me now? Time is proving me right. If people wanted BEVs, they would've bought them. Look at the FocusElectric, NissLeaf, MiEV. Abyssmal! Look at those hydroFC vehicles, god aweful. People dont want them because at the end of the day, they need to feed their families, run businesses, and go through life without the headaches that BEVs have. PHEV, Hybrids, efficient ICE is currently the only way to go. Wait till the end of the decade if you want to buy good BEVs or drop 60K for a Tesla, it's not ready for mainstream yet.
        Anne
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SNP
        "Wait till the end of the decade if you want to buy good BEVs" Yeah, let's do that collectively. There is no need to buy them, these terrific EV's will just magically self-develop.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anne
          Anne, he's right, tho. BEVs are a non-starter in the near term, whereas EREVs are fine. Given the global consensus by the press, engineers, and customers (both sales and surveys), the Volt is a pretty terrific EV. It's just not "pure" - it's practical. Your post and attitude are typical of Green purists who fail to see real progress in the hope for some ideal that will probably never materialize.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SNP
        "Wait till the end of the decade if you want to buy good BEVs" For myself, I agree. These are bleeding edge technologies with unknown longevity and unlikely payback. However, I certainly would not discourage well-heeled early adopters who are generous enough to help these new technologies to evolve.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          OTOH, I would not hesitate to recommend a Volt to any homeowner with sufficient tax liability, and have done so, repeatedly.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SNP
        I'm an EV fan and i'm not gonna argue with you. You're right in that electrics are still lagging behind. Don't write them off entirely though, remember that 5 years ago, buying a highway-capable electric car from anyone other than a small company that converts cars by hand was not a reality. The internal combustion engine car sucked when it first came out as well. It sucked for decades and people continued to think that the horse and bicycle were superior, while they dodged the massive fog cloud of deadly emissions from primitive internal combustion engines. Don't knock EVs just yet. The technology has not plateaued by any means.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Horse and Buggy are kind of interesting comparison. In an urban environment, the visible physical pollution (i.e. horsesh!t) from horses must have been substantial.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SNP
        Well you are late to the bashing party against the Ford Focus Electric, EV fans bashed it like crazy as an over-priced out-sourced compliance car. The Jelly Bean Mitsubishi-i isn't known by most people but those that look at it often are turned off by the short range, small size, and strange look. The Nissan Leaf is the big disappointment but much of it is the price is too high. They ask around $37K where I am and that makes it pretty expensive for an econocar. And with gas around $3.50/gallon and the economy in the toilet, there just isn't much demand. Car sales in general are down right now.
      george costanza
      • 3 Years Ago
      it is ironic living in individualistic society that we face doubling of food prices due to worst ongoing drought in history ten degrees above EVER in modern history and drier than during dust bowl but as long as economy stay in sh*ter just enough to keep gas prices down nobody cares. when gas prices go up THEN I will buy EV is the mentality (I already own a prius because I dont like fracking or ME saudi or iran and it is the right thing to do and I feel until lately when I see more and more like living in an alternate reality of giving a sh*t)......of course on MSM news one lady had an SUV she drives when gas is 'cheap' and a hybrid she drives when gas goes up....me me me is going to really be the straw which breaks the camel's back of our society. in biblical house on sand no man is an island and we wipe our a89es with any actual meaningful morals or fabels and twist other things to suit MY only narrow ideological tunnel vision....going to be real interesting! it is expensive for any upstart in US EV residential solar etc because big oil owns govt. they hate competition and congress is in their back pocket. I KNOW there is a diff. because I SEE it overseas...and not every country is some socialist bogeyman or whatever GOP keeps trying to sell weak minded and gullible..thing can be difference but it would affect the 'bottom line' for corporations which means less to grease congress' palms. and student loans and more businesses going bankrupt owning PEs like bain capital on top of ongoing new normal drought conditions etc will all be anchors going forward regardless of which of two corporate owned suits gets bought the white house.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does Tesla release their numbers? I wonder how many cars they have on the road now? All these manufacturers should be selling a lot more EREVs and BEVs. Gas prices are going back up here ($3.91/gal today). I guess Chevron needs more money to cover their environmental damage fines in Brazil... Or the gas companies want to rise prices to get them to $5/gal by election day. My bike still costs $0/mile in gas. It is hard to beat on short trips.
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        "Does Tesla release their numbers? I" No. And only obliquely in their quarterly financial statements. It looks like they're hiding.
          Rob Mahrt
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-02/tesla-makes-first-50-model-s-cars-ahead-of-output-ramp-up Released right here.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Nothing drives investment in efficiency or alternative energy better than high gas prices. And yeah i love my pedal bikes and my electric bikes. The cost of ownership and operation is so low that it doesn't even register on my budget.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          The problem is that there's no coordinated policy to set a price floor for gas to support non-gas. Gas taxes to ensure a $4/gal price would solve this pretty easily. Pedal bikes are a sunk cost, with minimal maintenance cost.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          ( ooh, i posted as if you all already knew my idea of how to increase gas prices but lower taxes. my bad. )
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          You don't have to set a price floor. You let the market decide the price. It will naturally go higher with less output from OPEC. But you also stop funding the oil wars, you remove subsidies, and tax favoritism for the domestic industry as well. Ultimately your taxes either go down or go to something that benefits us better ( combat the hidden tax of inflation? provide health care? pay down the deficit? many things are possible ). Since we don't have much domestic oil, it does not make sense to continually intervene in oil-bearing regions to keep the black stuff flowing anyway.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I look forward to these reports every month. You should add alt-fuel market-share pie charts. I copied your spreadsheet into Excel and made those charts myself, and a few things stood out: 1) Toyota's share of alt fuel vehicles is slowly shrinking, and is now less than 60% 2) VW Diesels represent over 18% of the market, and is growing 3) GM's eAssist and EREV vehicles represent over 12.5% (1/8) of the market, and is growing Unfortunately, quadricycles aren't legal in the US, and the Renault Twizy has been outselling all other BEV's in Europe. I believe the most viable 4 wheel configurations at the moment (outside of hybrids) are diesels, EREV's (Chevy Volt and Fisker Karma), high-end BEV's (Tesla, etc.), and quadricycles. The US needs to approve quadracycles for adoption in cities and closed communities, corporate campuses, etc.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        What you call quadricycles are NEVs in the US and they are legal for certain uses. The Th!nk Neighbor was sold in the US, one is still used on the corporate campus I work near. There was a scandal involving the government paying people to buy NEVs a while back. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574473724099542430.html#printMode What they call "golf carts" in the article are NEVs. Many closed communities allow NEVs and even golf carts on their roads.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          NEVs are legal pretty much everywhere . . . but with severe limitations. They are only allowed to go 25 mph or less and they are only allowed on roads with posted limits of 35 mph or less. That severely limits their usefulness but they do still serve some needs.
      MTN RANGER
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really impressed with Prius liftback sales. I thought the C and V would significantly siphon sales away from the liftback. I also thought C sales would be higher. As to the Volt, since 2013 models are just arriving at dealerships right now, August sales will be even higher. A lot of people are probably waiting for the improved AER, option packages, etc offered by the 2013.
        Jim Illo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        Toyota is definitely the gold medal winner in this race. I'm very surprised that Honda has such a dismal showing. As an American I'm glad to see Volt sales so high. Ten years ago if anyone told me that GM would be producing a single electric/hybrid model that would outsell all of Honda's hybrid/electric models COMBINED by more than 50%, I would have thought they were nuts. But GM has done just that. Way to go Detroit!!
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jim Illo
          Car dealers are businessmen first. They don't care about red or blue, just green money.
          george costanza
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jim Illo
          I didn't support bail out. nobody realizes funds were set aside by bush for GM bailout not obama. he just signed the final deal.anyway I am really happy sales of Volt are so high and I have seen a few locally and most chevy dealers are republican by the way so it isn't some liberal anything.....I support anything getting off oil. period. this should be a non partisan new deal all hands on deck effort. I can only thing big oil influence is reason for most fake 'debate' in US holding back progress on many fronts.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        50mpg is magic it turns out. I'm a huge wagon fan and even I look at the V and ask why I would drive that if I don't get 50mpg.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        " I also thought C sales would be higher." I'm looking at Edmunds.com and it says "140 vehicles available" for the Prius and "5 vehicles available" for the Prius C. So, apparently, there is a far greater supply of the original Prius.
          Rob Mahrt
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          The C is most likely going to stay at much lower numbers in the U.S., its more of a niche car because of its smaller size. Would be interesting to compare it to sales of something like the Mazda2.
      Giza Plateau
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems Tesla delivered 0 model S in July..
        Rob Mahrt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Since June 22nd, 50 Model S vehicles have now been completed, 29 customer cars were delivered, and 21 produced to be sent to Tesla stores as test drive cars. Looks like they expect to make about 11 cars a week this month, and ramp up to around 60 per week in September and October. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-02/tesla-makes-first-50-model-s-cars-ahead-of-output-ramp-up
        Ziv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        But they built 40 more for a total of 50 so far. Tesla is a rookie, but they are a smart rookie with a decent balance in the bank, so to speak. Musk seems to be playing this about as well as he can, no stupid Fisker mistakes so far. He might just pull it off and become an automotive player in a few years.
      carney373
      • 3 Years Ago
      This chart is all wrong. Hybrids that don't plug in and can only put gasoline or petroleum diesel in their fuel tank are NOT alt-fuel cars, but are wrongly included. Flex fuel vehicles that are engineered, warranted, and regulatorily approved to run on E85 ethanol ARE alt-fuel cars, but are wrongly excluded.
        carney373
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carney373
        And counting petroleum diesel as an alternative fuel is a sick joke.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm surprised the Prius C isn't selling better. The Leaf needs a price cut . . . badly.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I'm surprised as well. I test drove one and it is a really cool car, i want one badly :). It may be supply limited at this time? I think the traditional Prius is still a winner. Better power, more interior space, and +/- a few MPG VS. the Prius C.
        throwback
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        3K sales is pretty good for a compact. Especially one that starts at 19K. I also suspect they are volume limited.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @throwback
          It's worth a look, but you need to test drive it first. I like a driver's car, and I was just furious after driving a Prius, finding so many things unnecessarily wrong and anti-driver. Things done deliberately to make the driving experience unenjoyable. Of course, if you just need a cheap transportation toaster, that burns less gas, then it's great.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Yea, but look at what you get for $19K. A Fit, Focus, Cruze, Fiesta, Sonic, etc., can all be optioned up to, and above, $19K. Even this radical right wing extremist would seriously look at the Prius.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Your title is not appropriate, a 50 percent INCREASE in sales year over year, is not stalling, it's not even leveling out.... It is a dramatic INCREASE in real sales. Please update your title to reflect reality.
        Jim_NJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        With all due respect, you need to read the title more closely. "Alt-fuel vehicle sales slowed in July as EV DEMAND STALLS" [my caps]. The 'stalling' part is EV demand, as exemplified by the Nissan Leaf, which saw sales fall by 57% from last year, even though it is now available in all 50 states (unlike last July). Additionally, sales of the Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi iMiev have fallen for the last several months since their introductions earlier this year. To your point, yes, the title is bad in that it should say "Alt-fuel vehicle sales GROWTH slowed", because alt-fuel vehicle sales are still growing, but at a slower rate than in previous years. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a headline saying something more like "Alt-fuel vehicle sales growth slowed in July as PHEV demand soars".
    • Load More Comments