Advanced-powertrain vehicle sales continued to warm up with the weather, as Americans in May stepped up their purchases of hybrids, electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and diesels.

US green-car sales for May rose 14 percent from a year earlier to 68,189 units, while plug-in vehicle sales jumped 90 percent from May 2013 to 10,833 vehicles. And those numbers understate the year-over-year improvement because Tesla Model S sales figures aren't factored in (Tesla only discloses quarterly numbers and doesn't break out overseas sales, making reasonable estimates increasingly problematic with more and more of Tesla's sales coming from overseas).

The big story is Nissan, which saw sales of its all-electric Leaf jump 46 percent.

The big story is Nissan, which saw sales of its all-electric Leaf jump 46 percent from a year earlier to a monthly-record 3,117 vehicles. Also now added to the mix is the BMW i3, which racked up 336 sales during its first month of recorded US sales.

Toyota also fared well, as the Japanese automaker started to reverse alt-fuel vehicle sales declines from earlier in the year. Sales of the four Prius variants rose 14 percent from 2013, up to 26,793 vehicles, while Camry Hybrid and Avalon Hybrid sales were both up more than 20 percent. Overall, Toyota and Lexus combined boosted year-over-year green-car sales 13 percent to 38,464 vehicles.

Even Insight hybrid sales increased by 16 percent to 493 units.

Honda continued to make advances on the green-car front, selling 1,530 of its newer Accord Hybrid model and even Insight hybrid sales increased by 16 percent to 493 units. Honda's green-car sales jumped 76 percent from a year earlier to 2,969 vehicles.

Ford also did well in May, boosting green-car sales by 21 percent to 10,121 vehicles. Fusion Hybrid sales jumped 39 percent to 4,641 units, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales surged 58 percent to 1,128 vehicles and Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid sales tripled to 1,242 units.

Overall, GM's green-car sales fell 24 percent from 2013.

Such sales jumps more than offset the impact of lower alt-fuel sales from General Motors and Volkswagen. While GM's Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in sales rose 4.8 percent to 1,684 units, sales of mild-hybrid models like the Buick Regal eAssist and Chevrolet Malibu ECO plunged. Overall, GM's green-car sales fell 24 percent from a year earlier to 3,377 units. VW's diesel and hybrid sales fell 13 percent from a year earlier to 7,799 units.

As for lower-volume green-car makers, Audi's diesel sales quadrupled to 1,587 units, while Porsche hybrid sales more than doubled to a still-small number of units - 128 - and Mercedes-Benz's Smart division sold 206 of its ForTwo ED electric vehicles. Mitsubishi i battery-electric sales fell 61 percent to 35 units.



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  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Months Ago
      Diesel sales should not be included. They are most certainly not "green"
      jebibudala
      • 6 Months Ago
      The Fiesta and upcoming Focus 1.0L Ecoboost should be included.
      ScottM
      • 6 Months Ago
      I find that hard to believe. I actually almost bought a Volt; it was just a bit too small - and didn't have a sunroof (ya, important for me). The dealer I was at was exceptional; easily the best Chevy dealer I'd experienced. Even when I decided I wasn't going to go for the car, he thanked me for considering the Volt.
      Snowdog
      • 6 Months Ago
      Cool. The Nissan Leaf EV is outselling all of the Honda Hybrids combined... The little EV that could. :D
      Spec
      • 6 Months Ago
      So when you include Tesla . . . that is some 12,000 plug-in cars a month. It is a small but growing market. It is not some fad niche market. I'm sorry Sergio . . . you really look foolish. There is a shift in automobiles going on and you are missing it.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I noticed the Fiat 500e isn't on here, either.
      • 6 Months Ago
      How can diesels be counted in green cars ? Has anyone ridden a bike behind a diesel, even one of those advertised as "clean" ? One can agree that on the CO² level their quite good because they're efficient but the tailpipe emissions are fare from clean....
        brotherkenny4
        • 6 Months Ago
        I agree. Diesels stink, regardless of after treatment. However, we should remember that this is a free country (okay supposedly anyway), and many people enjoy breathing what others may consider toxic. The fumes from cars, diesels, trucks as well as many consumer products such as plastics, perfumes and deodorants etc. contain chemicals that cause the brains of humans to slow blood flow as defense mechanism to the chemicals toxicity. This low blood flow and low level toxification of the brain causes a lower activity state not dissimilar to the affects of certain drugs. Thus these people are actually somewhat high from breathing these fumes. It's somewhat hard for most people to believe this because they have lived their whole lives smothered in one or another of these toxins, so it all seems normal, and some of course know but like it. Anyway, I believe these people have a right to breath whatever toxic fumes they like. However, I personally like my brain functioning as cognizance is a high to me, so I wish I didn't have to be exposed to the brain punishing predilection of the numb heads, but I am and without my consent. I'd like to offer that diesels fumes, perfumes, and other brain destructive fumes should be canned and sold in headshops like they should be, except that public use should be banned.
      CoolWaters
      • 6 Months Ago
      And here's why that's important: http://climatecrocks.com/2014/06/04/despite-cold-winter-climate-change-reality-becoming-mainstream-in-us/ Every Decade Warmer then the Previous Decade. Never Vote Republican.
      nsxrules
      • 6 Months Ago
      Huh? SO Chevrolet salesmen are purposely sabotaging the Volt? I suppose Ford dealers and salesmen should get over their hatred of the CMAX so it doesn't keep getting outsold by the Prius V? Put down the crack pipe.... No salesmen (who depends on commission) will try anything but their best to sell a car.
      nsxrules
      • 6 Months Ago
      I am impressed with the Plug-in Prius. It's not sold nationwide yet, it doesn't qualify for the full $7500 credit (I think it only qualifies for $2500) and it's outselling the heavily discounted and I $7500 credit qualifying Volt which IS sold across the country. Toyota should expand availability of this car.
        Jim1961
        • 6 Months Ago
        @nsxrules
        Chevrolet dealers and salesmen should get over their hatred of the "Obamacar" and tell potential buyers why the Volt is better than an 11 mile AER plugin Prius.
      Grendal
      • 6 Months Ago
      What the heck happened with the PiP? Is that number correct?
        Wm
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Thanks for pointing that out. The PiP outsold the Volt by more than 1000 for the month. That's 60% more. The most surprising part is that, last I checked, the PiP is only sold if a very select number of states. I read about some good deals on 2013s in CA, so I checked to see if I could get the deal locally. I'd have to travel half way across the country to get one. The PiP is perfect for me, sine I only drive 7 miles in my daily commute, plus when on gas, it's about the best you can hope for. One person posted their total cost of energy for a Volt for the month. I did the numbers and I would spend less to go the same miles in my 5 year old Prius. Maybe their energy cost are much high than mine, but once on gas the Prius is difficult to top at this point in time. I hope with the 2015, Toyota bring the PiP to the rest of us. I might sign up for 2, and get rid the the crappy, gas guzzling G6 my wife bought.
      ScottM
      • 6 Months Ago
      Why aren't Hyundai / Kia included in these numbers?
        gslippy
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ScottM
        Right. I bought a Kia Optima Hybrid in May, but I guess it doesn't count.
        nsxrules
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ScottM
        Maybe Hyundai /Kia is not separating sales of hybrid and non Hybrids?
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