To paraphrase the classic villain line from the old Scooby Doo episodes, it would've been a good June if it wasn't for those meddling Volkswagen diesel and Chevy Malibu sales. Advanced-powertrain vehicle sales in the US halted their upward trajectory last month, and year-over-year demand fell for the first time since February. Americans bought 53,945 hybrids, plug-ins and diesels in June, which marked a 7.6 percent decline from a year earlier. Even factoring the likely uptick in Tesla Model S electric vehicle sales (the company doesn't break out monthly sales numbers, nor does it disclose how many vehicles it sells overseas, hence its exclusion from the totals), green car sales would've still been down. And that's despite the fact that plug-in vehicle sales jumped 42 percent from a year earlier and approached the 10,000-unit mark, even without Tesla.

We have to blame the VW oil burners and Malibu mild-hybrids.

And, of all things, we have to blame the VW oil burners and Malibu mild-hybrids. VW accounted for more than half the US shortfall, as the German automaker's diesel sales plunged 28 percent from a year earlier to 6,456 units, while Jetta Hybrid sales were down 53 percent to just 206 units.

Meanwhile, General Motors also had a real tough month, and it wasn't just because Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in sales fell 34 percent to 1,777 units. No, the real culprit was the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, whose June sales virtually disappeared (just 62 units sold) compared to the June 2013 total of 1,651 units. Overall, GM's green-car sales fell 42 percent from a year earlier to 3,204 units.

Prius Plug-in Hybrid sales almost tripled.

Toyota turned in what's looking like a typical month in 2014, with advanced-powertrain sales falling 9.2 percent from June 2013 to 27,846 units. While Prius Plug-in Hybrid sales almost tripled, total sales among the four Prius variants were down 12 percent to 18,649 vehicles, while Camry and Avalon Hybrid sales were both about even with year-earlier totals. Lexus hybrid sales fell 5.5 percent to 3,515 units.

All of that wiped out the effects of yet another positive month for Nissan and strong June demand for both Honda and Ford vehicles. The Nissan Leaf battery-electric boosted sales by 5.5 percent from what was a strong June 2013 to 2,347 units. Honda was buoyed by moving 1,135 units of its newer Accord Hybrid. So while sales of all of its other hybrids were down, Honda boosted its overall green-car sales by 30 percent from a year earlier to 2,290 units.

The Ford Fusion Energi was, for the first time, the best-selling American plug-in on record.

And, in an odd twist, the Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid was, for the first time ever, the best-selling American-made plug-in last month (remember, we're not counting Tesla and we'll set aside the fact that the Leaf is assembled in Tennessee), boosting sales fivefold to 1,939 units and beating out the Volt in the process. That more than offset a 32-percent drop in C-Max Hybrid sales and pushed Ford's green-car sales up 15 percent to 8,879 units.

As for lower-volume green-car makers, Audi quadrupled its diesel sales to 1,692 units; Mitsubishi i battery-electric sales fell 44 percent to just 22 units; Porsche hybrid sales fell 41 percent to 367 units; Daimler unit Smart moved 358 of its ForTwo ED electrics; and BMW sold 358 of its i3 plug-ins during that model's second full month of US sales.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 58 Comments
      GreenSanDiegan
      • 15 Hours Ago
      Perhaps it's time to define advanced powertrain and green cars excluding diesels, and with three overall numbers, one for hybrid and plug-in, one for just plug-in, one for just pure EV. Then it would be easier to see the obvious: the country is moving away from dirty diesels and the old hybrids towards plug-ins and especially towards pure EVs.
        mustang_sallad
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @GreenSanDiegan
        Disagree with your third category - just keep plug-in's lumped together, whether PHEV or EV. I don't care if somebody has a gas engine in their that they use every once in a while, all I care about is the fact that they're probably plugging it in on a daily basis. Besides, the i3 will be hard to split into BEV and REx versions.
          Luc K
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          It's all arbitrary I guess depending what we are categorizing on but most PHEV's only get 10-20 miles (Prius PHEV, Honda PHEV, Fusion Energi) so fair to say most people will use some gas. Volt is tougher to categorize with its longer range but technically still uses gas for longer ranges. Diesels are just fuel efficient category, not quiet green imo. Sure you could call it greener for pure highway driving but so are many other ICE fuel saving technologies (VCM, 3 cyl, ...).
      • 15 Hours Ago
      Why you continue to include diesel cars in these tallies really perplexes me. They're neither "green" cars, nor alt fuel cars, nor advanced powertrain cars. All it does is skew the numbers (negatively, since their sales are falling) and drawing attention away from the really important cars - plug-ins, and (to a much smaller extent) serial hybrids. I'd especially love if you could either ditch hybrids altogether, or make a separate table for plug-ins only. Including hybrids (and diesel cars, argh!) paints a bleak picture and manages to blot out the important news, that with almost no exception plug-in car sales are rising steadily.
        sola
        • 15 Hours Ago
        Absolutely agree, diesels are in no way advanced powertrain vehicles. If you lived in here in Europe you would find that they are the first cars to get rid of. In many countries of the EU, you can sell diesels without particulate filters. Those are the most polluting, disgusing cars ever.
          Tweaker
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @sola
          and in fact, Europe is Officially moving away from diesel.
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @sola
          Plug-in car sales report here: http://evobsession.com/nissan-leaf-stays-top-ford-fusion-energi-close-behind-us-june-ev-sales/ And if you are in Europe, also have reports for Norway, France, and some other countries when the data is available.
        • 15 Hours Ago
        Plug-in car sales report here: http://evobsession.com/nissan-leaf-stays-top-ford-fusion-energi-close-behind-us-june-ev-sales/ Plus others for some other top countries.
        Joeviocoe
        • 15 Hours Ago
        They are getting this table from somewhere else... and are too lazy to do any work.
      Alfonso T. Alvarez
      • 15 Hours Ago
      " ... No, the real culprit was the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, whose June sales virtually disappeared (just 62 units sold) compared to the June 2013 total of 1,651 units. Overall, GM's green-car sales fell 42 percent from a year earlier to 3,204 units. ... " You are 'supposed' to be knowledgeable of the 'green' auto market to write for this forum, yet make such a ludicrous statement like this?? Gee, do you think that maybe the fact that Chevy DISCONTINUED the Malibu ECO is a contributing factor in the sales drop?? Chevy has start/stop on the base engine in Malibu's now. It didn't help any that the media all tried to trash the ECO anyway - yet it is one of the very, very few vehicles that you can easily surpass the highway fuel economy without having to do anything special ...
      • 15 Hours Ago
      I am not surprised the energi is quietly selling well. I have had mine for just over a year and it is by far the best car I have owned. I originally thought 21 miles battery would be too little but can drive about 95 percent in electric mode around town. I think you want that engine to run at least a little each week so it is actually the perfect size. If you read energi forum you will find everyone easily getting 21-25 miles on battery with exception of running heat then it is more like 18-20. Also on the engine kicking in all the time when accelerating? I have heard people mention this before but it simply is not true. If you absolutely floor it pulling out then it will but if you drive like that all the time I think you are missing the point anyway.
        Spec
        • 15 Hours Ago
        I still cannot understand why Ford decided not to put a bigger battery in there (at least as an option!) considering that the government would pay for it for free! So nonsensical.
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          There is not any room for more battery. They would have to design something from the ground up to achieve that. Unfortunately I don't believe ford is willing to go all in on the ev just yet.
        Koenigsegg
        • 15 Hours Ago
        The car sucks ass, you cant drive pure electric without the engine kicking in, and its an aston martin knock off. and it has less trunk space than my smart car LOL
      Carguy
      • 15 Hours Ago
      I'm glad that Ford Is selling a lot of Energi models -but part of me wishes that car makers got the message that consumers want 40 plus EV miles from their plug ins. At 40 plus miles a Level 2 EVSE( home charging) makes sense, solar might even make sense - because for most Americans 40-50 miles is all they really need for most I their driving. At 12 or 20 EV mile range people still don't get the full benefits of electric driving.
        Spec
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Carguy
        Especially since it would cost them nothing more to make them ~40 mile AER EVs due to the tax-credit!
        elctrNmbliT
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Carguy
        And those 12-20 EV miles are in most cases near impossible to achieve without the ICE kicking in to assist. With many of those plug-ins unlike the Volt one can't just drive the car like like normal without having to be careful not accelerate too hard to keep it in EV mode, or if forced in EV only mode the power is dropped far below the blended mode.
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @elctrNmbliT
          Maybe that's where people are getting the "near impossible to achieve without the ice kicking in to assist" is the Prius? I don't know anything about the plug in Prius so I have no idea. I do know this simply is not true with the Fusion Energi. I can easily go weeks without the engine turning on if I so desired.
          JeffMGrant
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @elctrNmbliT
          That may be true for the plugin Prius but isn't for the Energi cars. We have one and and it won't go out of EV mode unless you punch the snot out of it.
      offib
      • 15 Hours Ago
      I've just noticed, 2 out of 3 of Toyota's vehicles didn't perform worse compared to 2013. Those two are the Prius Plug-In and RAV4 EV. It's pretty upsetting that those are the cars that Toyota would wish that didn't exist the most.
        Luc K
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @offib
        Actually there will be Prius PHEV for next generation (early 2016 IIRC with the recent delay) with little bit more range according to Toyota. It's pure EV's that Toyota is abandoning.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 15 Hours Ago
      I say count the 60% of the Volts as EV's as the Volt does 60% of the miles in EV mode. Wow, I sound like GM calling a hybrid a EV. Never thought that would happen, oh well, just this once.
      TopGun
      • 15 Hours Ago
      As an aside, the conversation here is so much more intelligent than the general AutoBlog. Well done folks.
      Ben Crockett
      • 15 Hours Ago
      It will be interesting to see the effect the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will have on Plug-in sales when it eventually hits the US market, particularly given the US love for SUVs. It is doing great in other countries.
      Spec
      • 15 Hours Ago
      Tesla may be battery constraint but I don't think LG is battery-constrained.
      Tweaker
      • 15 Hours Ago
      The idea that diesel is "clean" is just nonsense. It easily spews out more pollution than efficient gas burners with the exception of CO2. Co2 is not the end-all in "green". Utter effing nonsense propagated by Germans with with a mission.
        Jim1961
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Tweaker
        Diesel vehicles are not better when it comes to CO2 emissions. Every gallon of diesel burned results in 14% more CO2 emissions than a gallon of gas. Several models of non-hybrid gasoline cars beat the VW Golf diesel in CO2 emissions according to the EPA. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33818&id=33820&id=33663
          Joeviocoe
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          --"Diesel vehicles are not better when it comes to CO2 emissions. Every gallon of diesel burned results in 14% more CO2 emissions than a gallon of gas." Well... that is per gallon. Per MILE is a more accurate story. Diesels get more than 14% better MPG than comparable gasoline vehicles. So the CO2 is actually less per mile. People drive miles, they don't drive gallons. So, trading a gasser for a diesel, and maintaining a normal driving habit would result in CO2 reduction when you account for the 14% more CO2 per gallon, but 20%-30% more Miles per gallon. -------------- That being said. No, I don't think Diesel should be considered Green at all. Disclaimer, I drive a TDI on biodiesel.
          Joeviocoe
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          --"Use an antique 5 cyl only peddled to stupid Americans" Tweaker.... Um... read the chart in this article. The first two letters are "US". And the only 2014 VW golf that uses gasoline is the 5 cyl... not an "antique". The GTI 4 cyl is proves my point even more. And the non-Hybrid Jettas are STILL emitting more CO2 than the diesel version... so you've again proved my point. Yes,... I said that Diesels should NOT be considered green. Even if they emit less CO2 than a gasoline version. So read my comment again.
          Tweaker
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          "And the only 2014 VW golf that uses gasoline is the 5 cyl... not an "antique"." Yes, it is an antique they have been phasing out for the 1.8 TSI. Maybe "boat anchor" would be more appropriate. "The GTI 4 cyl is proves my point even more." My point was an apples-to-apples comparison. What does the GTI have to do with it? Built for performance. "And the non-Hybrid Jettas are STILL emitting more CO2 than the diesel version... so you've again proved my point." umm, no they aren't. Please include Upstream Emissions GHG. The diesel is only equal to the 1.8l Auto and behind the 1.8l manual. Factor in all the other pollutants and game over for supposed 'green diesel". The hybrid kills them all.
          PeterScott
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          Come on Joe. Usually I am on your side. But the VW 5 cyl is an antique and quite possibly the worse gas engine in the class with the worse gas mileage. How about Cruze Eco vs Cruze Diesel: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33663&id=33578 From where I sit, it is a little quicker than the diesel, cost the same to fuel, and emits less carbon... But I guess that actually makes his point, so you chose to go with the worse in class engine.
          Tweaker
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          "Why don't you compare a diesel Golf to a gasoline Golf for a fair comparison?" I see what you did there. Use an antique 5 cyl only peddled to stupid Americans so we believe the diesel is so much better. That comparison is not exactly equal either, is it? Try this one, the Jetta which comes with a new 1.8, a 2.0 diesel and a hybrid. Be sure to click the Energy and Environment tab and check out the upstream emissions. For more, enter California for state purchased. Diesel green? My ass. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34167&id=33817&id=33928&id=33927&#tab2
          Joeviocoe
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          The Jetta gassers are NOT 5 cyl engines... but 4 cyl. Which is THE MOST accurate comparison given so far. And they are the most popular diesels on that list... by far. Way more than any Cruze Diesel. I only mentioned the Golf 5cyl gas engine because Jim's comment had a 2014 Golf diesel in his comparison to the Cruze Eco... it was the only like for like gas model to that MY diesel. The Eco is a special case.... most diesel passenger vehicles being sold in the US are VW... and they sell alongside gasoline versions of similar class. The Cruze Eco is a really great car, but it is not a common representation of gasoline cars with diesel alternatives. Hybrids certainly beat the emissions, and Eco or Kei cars certainly don't have a 'diesel' equivalent model (regardless of the brand name). Meanwhile, VW and MB have been doing diesel for Decades... ... and 99% of the diesel passenger vehicles on the road, make up for the increased CO2 per gallon, with the increased miles per gallon. Regardless of the fact that any of this, I still don't think that any diesel should be considered "green" or even "alt-fuel" anymore.
          Luc K
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          .... take a Civic HF and compare that against Golf Diesel and it gets 20% less CO2 and saves you $750 in gas annually. So using that definition Civic HF and other similar fuel efficient cars should be added to 'green' car category as well. Diesels just don't quiet belong in the green car category but as long as in its own category I'm fine with that but don't say they are in same league as EV/PHEV's.
          Joeviocoe
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          ...and I see how you cherry picked a "Cruze Eco" to compare to the VW Golf. The Cruze Eco is not in the same performance class as the Golf. Why don't you compare a diesel Golf to a gasoline Golf for a fair comparison? http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33818&id=33820&id=34069#tag2
          Tweaker
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @Jim1961
          "The Jetta gassers are NOT 5 cyl engines... but 4 cyl. Which is THE MOST accurate comparison given so far. And they are the most popular diesels on that list... by far." Exactly why I gave it, and it shows perfectly that a modern diesel is not cleaner than a modern gas, despite your continued efforts to spin it otherwise.
      Spec
      • 15 Hours Ago
      Well . . . the Leaf is being the Volt but that is now misleading. . . . PHEVs are beating pure EVs now as the Volt, PiP, Ford Fusion Energi, and Ford CMAX Energi all combine to make big PHEV sales that dominate over the pure electrics. PHEVs seem to be dominating now and in order for pure EVs to take back the crown, I think we will need longer range pure EVs that are reasonably priced. Some low priced 100+ EPA rated EVs and some sorta medium/high priced 150 to 200 mile EVs.
        yoat
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        I don't need a million or two to lead a decent and happy live. Of course it would be nice to have but not really absolutely necessary. The same applies to some of those mile range dreams.
          FordGo
          • 15 Hours Ago
          @yoat
          Get a little ambitious, if YOU had a Million you might buy a Solar Home, instead of an ugly McMansion.
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        Agreed. But also note that there are only really 3 pure EVs on the market that aren't compliance cars -- one of which is the BMW i3 (just introduced, and not cheap) and another is the Model S (sales are a mystery, and not even reported here). But, yeah, give it to the PHEVs/EREVs for stepping up. 56% growth year over year in June (compared to 4% for pure EVs), and led 6511 to 4716 (with Tesla estimate included). For the year to date, PHEVs/EREVs up 56% and pure EVs up 12%. Sales: 24359 vs 20652. http://evobsession.com/nissan-leaf-stays-top-ford-fusion-energi-close-behind-us-june-ev-sales/
        Joeviocoe
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        I think that was the prevailing prediction from even pure EV fans. PHEVs will be dominate for while .... as BEVs go farther, charge faster, and get cheaper... and more importantly, Fast Charging infrastructure grows.
        Joeviocoe
        • 15 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        Thinking about it more.... Maybe we should be tracking EV mode utilization of PHEVs more. This way we can really compare the preference and ability of drivers to actually drive on electric power. After all, is an PHEV with a 5 mile AER really equivalent to the 40 mile AER Volt?
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