2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3
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2012 was a rocking year for hybrid vehicle sales here in the US, and Ward's Auto has written up an interesting piece that breaks some of the sales data down. The number-crunchers have tallied, for instance, that the 427,605 hybrids sold in 2012 is a 64-percent increase on the 261,507 sold in 2011.

Those numbers are big enough to beat out whole other mainstream segment sales, says Ward's, including midsize luxury cars, small crossovers/utility vehicles, and three separate SUV segments.

However, if we step back and take a closer at the real numbers for actual hybrids, the jump that Ward's is highlighting might actually be more a product of a booming market than anything. For instance: the article points out that US market share for "alternative-fuel" vehicles grew from 2.8 percent in 2009 to 3.3 percent in 2012. Of course, diesel vehicle sales from Audi and Volkswagen account for more that 100k of that group, and another 11,000-odd EVs push up that market share, too. (Read the handy AutoblogGreen alt-fuel sales report for the end of 2012, if you want a more complete breakdown.)

All of that means that true hybrid market share was less than three percent for 2012 – and closer to the 2009 levels – despite having a much improved total volume in a much improved car market. That's good news for car makers, for sure, but we're slightly less bullish than Ward's about the pro-hybrid message being sent by US car buyers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 107 Comments
      frdntfarm
      • 1 Year Ago
      I drive a hybrid(Lincoln MKZ) and it is all about choice. You can choose to drive fast with jack rabbit starts etc and get gas mileage that is pretty average. You can choose to drive a hybrid for max fuel economy and I have gotten 48 mpg driving that way. I'll admit that when gas went down that I was not as attentive to mpg but as it heads up now, I'm very glad to have the choice.
      John Murphy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Once the U.S. perfects the electric engine ... Asia will make them cheap and we will be stuck with the R&D bill .. yet again ...
      mcambl
      • 1 Year Ago
      the alternative energy dream......
      R Kirsch
      • 1 Year Ago
      Rather than being concerned with sales figures for "green" vehicles, the U.S. should be concerend with leading the development of "green" transportation AND renewable energy production SYSTEMS including electric power generation and the private transportation market. If the U.S. cared about developing industry and products to manufacture and sell to the rest of the world, we could corner the soon to be booming renewable energy production market, generate jobs and wealth for our domestic citizens. That one the underlying purposes of the hybrid car industry support by the federal Gov't. But it is not the primary reason, and it is ignored by America's Global Industrialists and the U.S. Congress.. and mocked by its Conservative citizens in the name of freedom. And while we do that, wealth gathering nations (ESPECIALLY such as Saudi Arabia) will soon be committing 100% to renewable energy development. They have recently announced such plans, and have set their industries on that course... Thus, while we laugh at ourselves for faltering in the production of hybrid cars, the rest of the world is on a drive to make and use renewable energy. And we, as we have been doing for the past 30 odd years, will buy what we need form other nations, spending money that we don't have because we have exported our jobs and ideas. Ultimately we and the rest of the world will buy renewable energy from he same folks that sell us the oil we use now. They are the smart ones, they see the future, while we mock ourselves in the name of political ideology. And, as the power will continue to come from the Middle East, jobs and wealth go to Asia, and the world passes us by, we will continue to ignore the truth about our American Global Industrialists and their abandonment of us.
      atthev1
      • 1 Year Ago
      For all the "Einsteins" out there who think all hybrids are plug-ins...think again. I own a Nissan Altima hybrid and it charges the battery when I apply the brakes. No plug-in and no used restaurant oils, etc...By the way. It is "Toyota technology" so I am guessing Toyota hybrids are not plug-in also....
      That Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Hybrids" and "still struggling" is like music to my ears. Love to hear things like this. They are stupid cars for stupid people. The good old ICE is so efficient these days that a hybrid makes even less sense than ever before, especially when initial cost is factored into the mix.
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        That "good old ICE" is still only about 30% efficient. It really isn't efficient at all. Don't like hybrids? Fine, don't buy one. Just remember, every gallon of gasoline a Prius driver saves, is one more gallon of gas you can burn in your hemi 'Cuda or whatever you want to drive. The vast majority of the people are not that into cars. Let them save as much gas as possible while driving their appliances.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @axiomatik
          30% maybe if you have a really well designed diesel. A typical gas ICE is probably in the 20% to 25% range.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        Please pont me to a 5 seat car that gets 40+ MPG in the CITY.
        mastercommentor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @That Guy
        the ICE is primitive and wont be around forever!
        glennwarne
        • 1 Year Ago
        @That Guy
        My hybrid runs fine. gets 38mpg. The motor turns off so there is no polution while just sitting there. thanks for calling me stupid. Jeez like your opinion matters to me. All I was doing was trying to stop using so much gosoline.
      Xi Gua
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hybrid vehicles tend to carry a big battery around. Any health expert will tell you that big batteries = bad health.
        A_Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Xi Gua
        Really? I don't remember coughing when a Prius goes by. That's not something I can say about the smog mod for diesels or just a plain ole rich burning gas vehicle.
        mastercommentor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Xi Gua
        TOTAL IDIOT!
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Xi Gua
        Xi Gua, Yes, yes you are quite right, it's all the fault of those nasty batteries,... now just take your medication and after a little nap, you'll feel so much better.....
      Alfred Bundy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hybrids are a joke. NOT A THING about them saves any money or gas! You are just a liberal moron, same thing, if you buy a hybrid. I LAUGH when I see suckers in these, as if they are actually doing any good or their car gets any kind of benefit from the battery. I just kick in my American V8 Hemi and scream by those ******* while laughing!
        THE GREAT ONE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alfred Bundy
        I have big vehicles and TWO prius which get 50 MPG driving normaly so YES they do save a lot of money on gas
        hf2hvit
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alfred Bundy
        ou're so miserable, I bet you have hemmies
        meyerjrj
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alfred Bundy
        I'm with you on that one Al!
      BRKF06
      • 2 Years Ago
      The prius was the #1 selling car in California last year. Yeah, #1. They're everywhere. My 4 year old son plays a various of punch buggy but with prii. BTw, why are you showing the god awful/abortive 3 series hybrid? BMW builds moronic hybrids. Seriously awful.
        RocketRed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BRKF06
        They are popular in CA. But hybrids are still below 3% in market share nation wide. The "Prius familty" is only 13th in sales by model, a hair ahead of the Cruze and just behind the Focus. It's a big market, but there must be a heck of a lot of "prii" un California to make up those numbers. It's not that hard to understand why people don't want them. 1. gas is cheap relative to average income 2. performance is kept poor to maximize MPG and appeal to the niche 3. diesels bleed off a good amount of the MPG-focused buyers 4. the hybrid has become synonymous with the Prius, a polarizing car with a polarizing design and distinctly non-aspirational brand image. And more to point 4, in the end, it would be much better for the "cause" if the BMW Active Hybrid took off. I don't know what's so awful about it. It basically expresses the trade off of the technology--if you want sports sedan performance, you don't get eye-popping mileage. You get very good mileage. Looks nice, handles well, goes well, gets very good mileage. What's wrong with that? It's no less of a rip-off than a non-hybrid 335i, which is a highly regarded automobile.
          BRKF06
          • 2 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          As the owner of an F30, I'd contend the hybrid version has no up-side. It takes an already tubby car and adds more weight. The MPGs are barely better. So what's the upside to paying 335i prices for a car that isn't really as good as a 335i? BMW would have been better served selling the 320 and 330d in the USA, over that awful hybrid. Like all BMW hybrids there's too much focus on marginal performance with barely better MPGs. People buy hybrids expecting a trade-off.
          Tweaker
          • 2 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          Hybrids do not have to be either/or. The Jetta hybrid is both quicker and more efficient than the Jetta diesel.
          mapoftazifosho
          • 2 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          So in 10 years the car went from nothing to 13th top selling car in the US...yeah...that really sucks...
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      How many of these were fleet sales? The federal gubmint and many states are trying to give the illusion of being \'green\' rather than being fiscally responsible by purchasing hybrid fleets for departmental cars.
      rmweld
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only way a hybrid will ever take over the gas vehicles is very simple--------You either can't get the gassers or they quit making them, either way if the liberals keep dictating policy, we'll all be driving a STEVE URKEL car.
        joseph0958
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rmweld
        MORON!
        Wodrp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rmweld
        Go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isetta and read about the Urkel car. It was, admittedly, horribly slow to get up to speed but, as it got 50-50 MPG, it would be perfect for around-town drivng. And, it WAS a gas car.
      artandcolour2010
      • 2 Years Ago
      The "problem" with hybrids in the USA is that historically when people wanted to save gas here, they really meant they wanted to save money. They had to buy smaller and cheaper cars which usually meant lighter weight and less equipment. The idea behind 21st century hybrids is to save PETROLEUM, not to save money. People that buy hybrids today don't care about the expenditure for gas, they care about not using that gas in the first place. It was never about the money, it's about being green as much as possible. Until the general American public "gets" this fact, hybrids will slowly percolate to a very enthusiastic but small buying segment.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        [blocked]
          Nemebean
          • 2 Years Ago
          There is no electric car on the market that appeals to someone who buys, say, a Prius C. Anything even vaguely in the price range has limited range, and anything range extended costs a lot more. People may want to save petroleum, but for most people the bottom line is a still a bigger factor in what they buy.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        What? People want to save money on what they don\'t care about. People like AC, 10 airbags, lots of space etc. over driving dynamics and 0-60 times. Do you own a high performance dish washer? Probably not since it is an appliance to you, just like a car is to most people. Get over it.
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