"Now and again, I get the feeling, well if I don't win, I'm gonna break even," Tom Petty sang on his 1994 nugget You Wreck Me. And while we're not out to wreck any hybrids or electric vehicles, it's safe to say that the sentiment of that lyric is an appropriate one when analyzing last month's green-car sales.

In Q1 2014, Americans bought 59,544 green cars, up 0.9 percent from 2013.

With 2014's first quarter in the books, US green-car sales have emerged from deep-negative territory to show year-over-year gains for March, albeit barely. All told, Americans bought 59,544 green cars, up 0.9 percent from 2013. Year-over-year green-car sales going into March were down 19 percent, so last month represents a victory of sorts.

Nissan led the parade as the Japanese automaker boosted sales of its all-electric Leaf by 12 percent from a year earlier to 2,507 units, its second highest-ever monthly total ever (behind December 2013's 2,529 units sold).

Tesla, which doesn't break out monthly sales of its Model S, would've boosted its March sales by 45 percent from a year earlier to 2,300 vehicles if it maintained its sales pace from the fourth quarter, a reasonable expectation.

Honda, meanwhile, is leaving its laggard days behind thanks to solid sales of its newer Accord Hybrid. Specifically, the company moved 1,346 Accord Hybrids, which more than offset the effect of a 22 percent drop in CR-Z hybrid sales and a 41 percent plunge in Civic Hybrid sales. Overall, Honda boosted March green-car sales by 53 percent to 2,549 units.

And despite Ford C-Max Hybrid sales being down 49 percent, the Blue Oval boosted green-car sales from a year earlier by 7.1 percent to 8,685 units, as sales of the Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid and Lincoln Lincoln MKZ Hybrid each more than tripled.

The Germans also did well, with Volkswagen's diesel sales rising 15 percent from a year earlier to 9,767 vehicles. VW also sold 276 Jetta Hybrids. Audi's diesel sales quadrupled to 1,315 units, while Porsche hybrid sales more than doubled to 152 units.

March 2014 numbers for the four Toyota Prius variants dropped 16 percent to 18,582.

All of those gains more than offset tepid green-car sales from both Toyota and General Motors. Toyota continues to bump up against strong 2013 sales, with March 2014 numbers for its four Prius hybrid variants dropping 16 percent to 18,582. And while Lexus hybrid sales rose 3.6 percent, Camry Hybrid sales fell 3.9 percent from a year earlier, while Highlander Hybrid sales dropped 30 percent. Overall, Toyota and Lexus green-car sales fell 12 percent to 28,623 units.

General Motors also fell short as sales dropped 22 percent from a year earlier to 3,160 units. While GM's Chevrolet division moved 644 Cruze Diesels and 81 Cadillac ELR extended-range plug-ins, Chevy broke even by selling 1,478 Volts (the exact same amount as in March 2013) and saw sales of its mild hybrid Buick LaCrosse eAssist, Buick Regal eAssist and Chevrolet Malibu ECO all plunge from a year earlier.

Break out the plug-in vehicles and the results get better.

Break out the plug-in vehicles and the results get better, though, as Americans bought 9,950 plug-ins last month, up 37 percent from a year earlier. For the first quarter, overall green-car sales fell 11 percent from a year earlier to 136,843 units, while plug-in sales jumped 38 percent to 24,527.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      porosavuporo
      • 2 Days Ago
      ABG missed the relevant news : Tesla has set an all time sales record of ANY car model ever .. in Norway.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Days Ago
      Once again... so many things DISTORT the conclusion of this ongoing article. You are comparing the Q1 sales of 2014... with one of the worst winters. Car sales across the board were horrible.
      Jesse Gurr
      • 2 Days Ago
      Why not include the Infiniti hybrids? Did you forget about them?
        Jesse Gurr
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        I don't see BMW either. For a more complete list go here. http://www.hybridcars.com/march-2014-dashboard/ For a website to say they "Obsessively cover" green auto news, it would be nice if it were complete news coverage.
      porosavuporo
      • 2 Days Ago
      "All told, Americans bought 59,544 green cars" Meanwhile, market share of fuchsia dropped slightly by 0.5% and beige is on its way to the top. WTF is a "green" car anyway ? Do green stripes on bumper ala eAssist count ? Europeans just awarded a Car of the Year award to Peugeout 308, which in diesel version gets an insane 60mpg without any hybrid trickery. That would not be green in this table i guess.
      Grendal
      • 2 Days Ago
      Plug-ins up 37%, and that is in a harsh winter. We've still got a very long way to go but this is a very good start. I'm patiently waiting on the i3 to enter the market. It will be the third purpose built EV on the market joining the Leaf and the Model S.
        GleninCA
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Grendal
        Yep. And it's looking like the US will hit 100k plug-ins sold in a single year this year too (likely by October)!
      Grendal
      • 2 Days Ago
      They have the Model S at 1300 cars. Oops. Off by at least 1000. Granted that it is a guesstimate and not an official number.
      kentinoc
      • 2 Days Ago
      I notice that Fiat was not mentioned in this list—it would be interesting to see the sales numbers on the Fiat 500e. They have been running a lot of advertisements on Southern California TV stations for the car—certainly way more than other EVs.
        Rob Mahrt
        • 2 Days Ago
        @kentinoc
        Hybridcars.com has 166 Fiat 500es sold in March: http://www.hybridcars.com/march-2014-dashboard/
      Spec
      • 2 Days Ago
      I think I've been saying this for years now . . . GM, you need a GOOD hybrid line. eAssist is crap and everyone knows it! The Chevy Volt outsells their entire conventional hybrid line COMBINED. It is nice to see that the plug-in hybrid Energi models make up a healthy share of Ford's hybrids. I know they are clowns but can't we at least get a number for the Chrysler Fiat 500e cars sold? I suspect the PiP's sales increase was largely due to the Green stickers in California . . . but why did that not help the Volt? Have they been supply constrained? BTW, this comment system is garbage.
      Oolly
      • 2 Days Ago
      I wonder if Toyota is suffering anticipation for the next generation Prius. If I was in the market for a car, I would be waiting to see the next generation. If rumors are true about a Focus Energi later this year at a lower price than other Energi models, Ford could see noticeable increase. The plug-in Accord is priced very high, but I am still surprised its sales are down from an already low number. Honda must not want to sell many and maybe are not making many. As expected GM accounts for most of the drop in these types of cars.
        scraejtp
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Oolly
        GM only lost ~1000 sales compared to '14, while Toyota lost ~4000 sales. Most of GM's lost sales are due to the Chevrolet Malibu ECO which is no longer in production.
        GleninCA
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Oolly
        "Honda must not want to sell many and maybe are not making many." Honda hasn't cared about selling green cars for the past 10 years.
      JP
      • 2 Days Ago
      So by what miracle can Tesla sell 2300 cars here AND over 2000 cars in Europe in the same month?
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