We'd say that the U.S. plug-in vehicle market's starting to fire on all cylinders, but then again, cylinders pretty much defeat the purpose, don't they?
Monthly-record sales of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and the second-best month ever for the Nissan Leaf all-electric helped spur October alt-fuel vehicle sales to a 76 percent jump over 2011 figures.

Plug-in vehicle sales totaled 6,784 units, the third-consecutive monthly record.

Plug-in vehicle sales totaled 6,784 units, the third-consecutive monthly record. General Motors moved 2,961 Volts, while Nissan sold 1,579 Leafs, which trailed only June 2011's 1,708 units sold in the ranking of top US monthly sales. Ford moved a monthly-record 118 Focus Electrics, while the U.S. automaker recorded its first sales of its C-Max Energy Plug-in Hybrid, tallying 144 units last month. Mitsubishi maintained its low-volume pace with 30 units sold of the i EV.

Overall, automakers sold more than 46,000 alt-fuel vehicles, exceeding the necessary pace for U.S. annual alt-fuel sales to surpass 500,000 units for the first time ever.

Toyota continued as alpha dog, boosting sales by 70 percent compared to 2011.

Toyota continued as alpha dog, boosting sales by 70 percent compared to 2011 to 24,065 units. The Japanese automaker moved 16,774 Prius hybrids, including 3,328 Prius C compacts, 2,768 Prius V wagons and 1,889 Prius Plug-in Hybrids. Toyota also sold 2,986 Camry Hybrids, while the automaker's Lexus badge boosted hybrid sales by 46 percent from a year earlier to 3,792 units.

Along with record Volt sales, GM more than tripled year-earlier alt-fuel sales to 5,710 units, including more than 2,500 of its mild-hybrid Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal and Chevrolet Malibu eAssist models.

And Ford continued to close the year-to-date gap from 2011's alt-fuel totals by more than doubling October sales to 4,727 units. Most notably, Ford's C-Max Hybrid wagon, which was launched to compete with the Prius V, beat the latter model's October sales with 3,035 units sold. And while Ford Escape Hybrid sales virtually disappeared (the discontinued model sold nine units last month), Ford Fusion Hybrid sales rose 12 percent from a year earlier to 956 units, while Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales were little-changed from a year earlier at 465 vehicles.

German-made diesel models also enjoyed sales increases as US consumers looked to cut back on fuel consumption. Volkswagen diesel sales jumped 43 percent from a year earlier to 8,235 units, while sales of Audi diesels rose 18 percent to 581 vehicles. And Porsche increased its hybrid sales total by 27 percent to 154 units.

In fact, the only automaker to experience an alt-fuel drop from a year earlier was Honda.

In fact, the only automaker to experience an alt-fuel drop from a year earlier was Honda, whose 966 units sold marked a 23 percent drop. Civic Hybrid sales were little-changed from a year earlier at 453 units, but CR-Z sales were down 16 percent from a year earlier and the Insight plunged 49 percent to 251 units. Still, Honda's October lag was narrower than its year-to-date alt-fuel sales drop of 46 percent.

Looking at 2012 alt-fuel sales through October, automakers have sold more than 446,000 vehicles, up 67 percent from a year earlier.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not just over 6000 but coming close to 7000! Well done, keep selling all those plug-ins whether they be PHEVs or pure EVs.
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is Ford actually starting to build the FFE in reasonable numbers? Between the Energi lineup and the FFE they could look like a real player in 6 or 7 months.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        @Ziv, Ford is not even close on the FFE. Their longer-established FFE was just outsold 20% by the new Cmax Energi. The Cmax Energi is where Ford is going to notch their numbers.
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          I agree that the Energi's are going to be the big sellers for Ford, but it looks like they are starting to build more FFE's than they did for the first 10 months of production. I have driven a FFE and it is a cool little car. The boot is lacking but other than that it makes a great city car/second car. I don't know why they are building so few of them or why so few dealers are selling them but I have to imagine the main problem is that they are selling them at a loss right now. Which is what I think held GM's production down on the Volt for the first several months. Now that the Volt is actually making a profit for GM, their production numbers are rising and not coincidentally, their prices are dropping as the economies of scale kick in. I think the same thing is happening with the FFE, albeit at a slower rate.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @Ziv: 118 cars isn't horrible for the FFE, but if they're "selling at a loss", it's doing to be for a while. Relative to the segment-leading Volt, which sold 25 times as many cars last month, the FFE's best month still hasn't clipped the Volts worst (125), and the 356 sold series to date is barely equal to the Volt's first month of 326 cars - with luck, the FFE will match the Volt's first 2 months of sales by the end of the year..
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      At this point, the market has decided on a Volt - PIP - Leaf trifecta, with each position pretty solidly set. The Volt juggernaut keeps rolling. I'm expecting 3,000+ sales for November, and potentially 5,000+ sales December. The consistent, growing, strong sales suggest that the true market demand is finally catching up with the underlying merits of the car, and that the political noise has finally faded to the background. Next year should be fantastic. Once again, the PIP significantly outsells the Leaf, which it has done since introduction. That 1,889 PIP beats the Leaf's high water mark of 1,708 set in Jun '11. For how expensive it is, and how badly it compares with the Volt (or Cmax Energy), it's rather shocking to see it sell this well. OTOH, for how easy it is to trade a Prius to keep one's HOV sticker , I guess it's not that surprising. Leaf position is not good, having fallen to a clear third from formerly leading. I wonder if Nissan expected to be third behind the PIP. Ford C-Max Energi and FFE set new records Ford plug-ins, modest as they are. While I look at the Cmax as very early - we'll have a truer picture of demand and production next summer, but hope that December can show some more significant sales. The rest is just small filler.
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nobody has mentioned how Honda Insight has cratered. 251! Toyota should have done multiple size Prius models years ago.
      brotherkenny4
      • 2 Years Ago
      With two points you can draw a line and make a prediction. I predict next year (2013) there will be 85,000, and in 2014 it will be 120,000 plug-ins sold. That assumes a linear growth based on two points. Ypu could instead take the 13,000 in 2011 and say that quadrupled in 2012, to about 50,0000 (2012 is not over yet) then assumed it would quadruple sales again, you would have 200,000 units in 2013, and 800,000 in 2014. Of course I am just making this up and the car companies will have to lower the price to something closer to the true cost before these really take off. So why the analysis you ask? Because everyone gets to say crazy things with no basis in fact using twisted numbers, so why can't I. If supposedly seriously journalism outlets can tell the world that each Volt cost $89,000 to make, I can say any stupid thing I want, because reality doesn't matter. The lies continue and why should I be able to lie just like a complete shill. Well, except that I don't get paid to say these things, and because it is likely that next year, plug in sales will be between 85K and 120K somewhere, which isn't too bad.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        tl;dr. Next year, I'd look at something like this: 40k Volt - 3+k/mos sustained 20k PIP - customer retention via Prius trade-ins 10k Ford C-max - should sell like Volt / Leaf 10k Leaf - erratic sales and #3 position won't leapfrog Ford or Toyota. 5k others - rather generous That's 85k, and I think it's actually defensible as a lower bound. Hitting your 120k would require very generous numbers across the board: 50k Volt 30k PIP 20k Ford C-max 15k Leaf 5k others I'm not sure I see the market growing that fast, even if the past few months keep up, so yeah, I'm OK with 120k as an upper bound for next year.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          All else being equal, plug-ins cost more, even after Federal rebate. To goose plug-in adoption, we need sky-high gas prices *and* a booming economy.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Well, it really depends on the economy and the price of gas.
        pmpjunkie01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        GM wants to build 45k Volt, Nissan is ranping up to produce up to 150k EV's in Smyrna, Ford hopes to move 45k Energi models, the plug in Accord comes in January, Toyota has the PIP at minimum 18k units, Tesla is ramping up production for 20k Model S and the BMW i3 is scheduled to come at the end of the year with 30k units planned for 2014. It seems like 80k is very pessimistic. I hope we see market growth like we saw with hybrids a decade ago.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @pmpjunkie01
          You're wishlisting for 300k plug-ins next year? Sorry, no. And definitely not 150k Leaf. That's just not going to happen, now that the market's opened up with all 3 of the big players (GM, Ford, Toyota) selling plug-ins. Just like the MIEV got lost in the background behind the Volt, PIP and Leaf, so, too, will the Leaf get lost behind the Volt, Cmax and PIP.
      pmpjunkie01
      • 2 Years Ago
      Count in Tesla and Coda and I'm sure the 7k mark just got busted. I drove through LA the other day and saw a couple Leaf, a couple Volt ,two Model S, a Coda and yes, an iMiev, all in one day. Kind of like back in the day when everyone was laughing at the Prius but you could already see them taking over California before people in the rest of the USA realized their potential.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @pmpjunkie01
        Tesla / Coda / Fisker would need to have sold 220+ last month. The lack of data doesn't support such a conclusion - even in SoCal, those are all very rare, whereas Volt is becoming commonplace on the freeway.
          pmpjunkie01
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          From insideevs.com: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales. However, consistent SEC filings, and production tweets/updates let us be fairly exact in estimating that Tesla sold about 290-300 Model S EVs in October. (Delivery math calculations below) CEO Elon Musk tweeted (and posted a picture) over the weekend that Tesla had produced its 1,000th Model S body, which gives us a nice window into how production has been ramping up, but more importantly he said Tesla made “…more cars this month than entire rest of year.” This statement, coupled with a SEC filing that said as of September 23 Tesla had made 255 cars in total, with an expectation to produce 45 more by month end, means that Tesla has eclipsed 600 completed Model S EVs in October. (Then later in early October, Musk said the company had completed 359 cars, and 250 had been delivered) Subtract out previous sales and demonstrators, means Tesla probably delivered about 300 cars in October by our estimates. Fisker Karma: Like Tesla, Fisker does not report monthly sales. Unlike Tesla however, we don’t have the advantage of constant SEC disclosures. What we do have is the Fisker PR machine putting out press releases. In September, the company raised another 100 million dollars to fund the development of the upcoming Atlantic. And in so doing the company intimated that sales rose by about 150 units in the US since their last quasi-update the month prior. CEO Tony Posawatz had this comment yesterday on how things are progressing, “On the retail sales front, we beat our forecasts for September.” In October, all we had from Fisker was an update that the company had now moved more than 2,000 Fisker Karma’s worldwide, unfortunately estimates already had the company at 2,000 units for September’s month end, leaving us to estimate maybe 75-100 Karmas were sold in October.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          First question: are all of those Tesla sales US? or are some Canada / Europe / elsewhere?
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          All US. Tesla hasn't sold any Model S' outside the US.
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