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
      • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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
          • 1 Month 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, ...).
      • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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
          • 1 Month Ago
          @sola
          and in fact, Europe is Officially moving away from diesel.
          • 1 Month 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.
        • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month Ago
        They are getting this table from somewhere else... and are too lazy to do any work.
      Alfonso T. Alvarez
      • 1 Month 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 ...
      • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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.
          • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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
      • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Carguy
        Especially since it would cost them nothing more to make them ~40 mile AER EVs due to the tax-credit!
        elctrNmbliT
        • 1 Month 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.
          • 1 Month 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
          • 1 Month 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
      • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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
      • 1 Month 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
      • 1 Month Ago
      As an aside, the conversation here is so much more intelligent than the general AutoBlog. Well done folks.
      Ben Crockett
      • 1 Month 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
      • 1 Month Ago
      Tesla may be battery constraint but I don't think LG is battery-constrained.
      Spec
      • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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
          • 1 Month Ago
          @yoat
          Get a little ambitious, if YOU had a Million you might buy a Solar Home, instead of an ugly McMansion.
        • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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
        • 1 Month 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?
      ssdajoker
      • 1 Month Ago
      If you think the Ford energi is something, you should check out the Nissan Leaf, or the BMW i3, both are better than that shitty Ford fusion. I dare you to go shopping with you and 4 other people, then tell me where the hell is your stuff going to fit?
        • 1 Month Ago
        @ssdajoker
        I did. I loved the energi so much but my wife primarily drives it to work. Could not get enough of the electric so I traded in my old Lexus lx470 in for the leaf. My payment is less than what I spent on gas for the Lexus so it was a no brainer. Have had the energi just over a year and October will be a year for the leaf. Absolutely love the leaf for everyday around town driving, always go to it first to do errands in. Even if it could do long trips I would always prefer the energi for those trips. I love both but if I had to choose between the two I would go with the FFE. Have you even driven the fusion at all to have a valid opinion of it? If you follow the FFE forum you will find the overwhelming responses very favorable to it. Not sure what your bias is towards it and if it's not for you that's fine. But for you to say its shitty completely discredits any intelligence you might have.
        • 1 Month Ago
        @ssdajoker
        As far as the trunk goes, sure it is small and I am sure that will be a deal killer for some but it has not been a problem for me and I have 4 kids. My oldest is in college so we have done road trips with the 5 of us and yes the trunk was packed but everything fit. We just go with the attitude that we are packing for the airplane. If you can travel on an airplane without having to check in luggage you likely can go on a road trip in the FFE. ... And shopping with four other people, who does that?!!
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