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Before we start, let's state that the annual Labor Day sales bump was included with September sales in 2012 and with August in 2013. The change means that, overall, a drop in 2013 sales doesn't really represent a decline in sales, since there were fewer official sales days and no Labor Day sales in September 2013. You can get details on the industry's quirky calendar over at Forbes.

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It's been a while since the Chevy Volt has has a headline-worthy sales month, but with 3,351 units sold in August, General Motors figures now is the time to trumpet how the plug-in hybrid is doing in the marketplace (see press release below). In the US, the Volt had an 18.4 percent increase over August 2012 numbers, and easily beating the Volt's previous best sales month from October 2012, when 2,961 were sold. For the year, the Volt has so far sold 14,994 units, 11.1 percent more than the same

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Starting production of the all-electric Leaf in Tennessee helped Nissan sell more Leafs in the US in March 2013 than in any other month. April wasn't quite as sunny, but the 1,937 Leafs sold last month were still good enough for second place. Ever. It also represents a 423.5 percent year-over-year increase and Nissan says that, so far in 2013, Leaf sales are up 160.4 percent compared to the same time frame in 2012. April also marked the second month in a row that the Leaf beat the Chevrolet Volt

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It's been a slow couple months for the Nissan Leaf, with sales hovering around 650 for each of the first two months of the year. Throughout the slowdown (late last year, monthly sales totals were closer to 1,500), Nissan representatives kept saying there was no need to worry, that once production got rolling in Tennessee, sales would climb back up. But they never said we'd be looking at a such a high new record. Just last week, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was saying March sales would be around 1,900

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The plug-in vehicle field is getting more and more crowded, but the two long-timers remain barometers for how electric vehicles are being accepted in the US. Last month, the Chevrolet Volt was up and the Nissan Leaf held steady. Let's get to the numbers.

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Before the Chevrolet Volt launched in late 2010, General Motors representatives were boldly talking about some big production numbers, like 60,000 or 45,000 Volts a year. It's been a rocky road since then, and the reality was more subdued. The General sold 7,671 Volts in 2011 and 23,461 in 2012. When you add in the rebadged Opel Ampera, GM made and sold around 30,000 plug-in hybrids last year and the Volt was the best-selling plug-in car in the US last quarter. Now that GM has momentum on its si

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Despite a challenge by upstarts with cords, the Toyota Prius remains the unofficial car of green-ness. What's sometimes difficult to remember is that the car has been on the market for over a decade, so it's nowhere near an overnight success. We're not sure if we'll ever see the day when half of Santa Monica is driving around in Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, but at least one publication sees history repeating itself – this time with plug-ins in the Prius role.

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Sales of the Chevrolet Volt have fluctuating wildly recently between record months (October 2012, when 2,961 were sold or December 2012 with 2,633) and noticeable slumps (1,519 Volt sales in November). Last month, January 2013, was one of the down months, with just 1,140 Volts sold across the US. Still, this is better than the 603 Volts sold in January 2012.

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December 2012 alt-fuel vehicle sales continued to trend well ahead of 2011 figures and pushed 2012's sales of hybrids, diesels and plug-ins past the half-million vehicle threshold. Plug-in vehicle sales totaled 6,769 units for December, which was more than twice as high as a year earlier and just 15 units shy of October's monthly record of 6,784. Last year's plug-in sales, which were just shy of the 50,000-unit threshold (not including lower volume cars like the Tesla Model S) were spurred by co

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It wasn't the best Chevrolet Volt sales month ever, but GM's plug-in hybrid climbed out of the November slump of 1,519 sales back up to 2,633 sales in December. The record for most Volt sales in a month thus remains with October 2012 and 2,961 sold. For the year, Chevy sold a total of 23,461 Volts, way up from the 7,671 sold in 2011.

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November's US alternative-fuel vehicle sales remained steady relative to recent months as strong sales for Ford's C-Max hybrids and the all-electric Nissan Leaf offset the effect of lower Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid sales than October. Year-over-year growth rate slowed markedly because Toyota regained its normal hybrid sales pace about this time of year in 2011 after sales figures were hampered for much of last year by the effects of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which

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Last month, GM sold 1,519 Chevrolet Volt vehicles, up from 1,139 in November 2011 but way down from the record-setting 2,961 Volts sold in October 2012. And here we thought maybe Chevy was on the way to breaking the 3,000 barrier for the first time. GM says that tight supply constrained deliveries, which makes the recent production shut-down seem questionable, but that was to retool for the current model year as much as anything.

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The month-to-month increases in Chevrolet Volt sales for the last few months have not been all that impressive – from August to September, they went up just 20 units, and from September to October, the number climbed up 110. The good new for GM, though, is that each of the last three months have set new records. October continued that trend, with 2,961 Volts sold last month. Based on these trends, will anyone be surprised if the Volt finally breaks 3,000 for the first time in November?

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For the second straight month – and the third out of the last four – U.S. alt-fuel sales in September doubled year-earlier totals as consumers gravitated towards advanced-powertrain vehicles. Monthly plug-in vehicle sales eclipsed the 5,000 mark for the first time ever because of record sales for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and near-record demand for the Toyota Prius Plug-In, while the Ford C-Max Hybrid wagon became that company's best-selling hybrid in just its first m

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With 2,831 sold, August was a good month for sales of the Chevrolet Volt. In fact, it was the most Volts sold in the U.S. in a single month, ever. Critics questioned whether those sales were legitimate, but there's no question the Volt is on a roll. Could Chevy orchestrate a repeat? September has answered that question with a resounding yes, and then some: GM sold 2,851 Volts last month. In September 2011, Chevy sold 723 Volts. With 210,245 vehicles sold across all brands, GM says that this was

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It's like having a ringside seat without having to shell out for the tickets.

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A Forbes piece is blasting the Chevrolet Volt as a failure again, calling General Motors out for what the magazine says is a manipulation of sales numbers for the extended-range electric vehicle.

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Bad news for U.S. consumers turned into good news for sellers of advanced-powertrain vehicles like the Toyota Prius and the Chevrolet Volt, as higher gas prices drove a near doubling of August alt-fuel U.S. vehicle sales compared to numbers from 2011.

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We should be getting August's official sales numbers early next week, but the Detroit Free Press is already reporting that General Motors will have something to be proud of in the announcement: 2,500 Chevrolet Volt sales, the car's best month ever. Previously, the best month of sales was March 2012, when GM sold 2,289 Volts.

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