Now that the September vehicle sales numbers are out, some more detailed analysis has been done and the results for hybrid vehicles are decidedly mixed. Overall sales dipped 1.9 percent compared to September 2005, while hybrid vehicles climbed 21.5 percent year to year. A total of 23,301 hybrids were sold in the US market in September, representing 1.72 percent of total sales. However, compared to August, 2006 sales actually dropped by 11 percent. The Toyota Prius continues to dominate the hybrid market with sales of 10,492 units in September. Meanwhile, the Honda Accord hybrid continues to lag behind all the others except the Lexus GS450h and the barely hanging on Honda Insight. Only 389 Accord hybrids went out the door in September, a drop of 83 percent from 2005. The Escape/Mariner twins also dropped both monthly and year to year totals of eight percent and nine percent, respectively. However, the hybrid share of the Escape/Hybrid sales increased as the gas sales dropped even more, so this one might be more due to an aging design than anything. The Escape is due for a refresh next year. The Lexus GS 450h, which only sold 164 units, did however represent 74 percent of GS 450h/ GS 430 units and six percnet of total GS sales. The numbers are basically all over the place for different vehicles and may or may not be representative of anything. It's probably too early to tell if there are any real trends from these numbers. Over the next couple of years as a lot more hybrid vehicles come to market we'll get a better picture of the real market potential, especially if fuel prices continue their previous upward trend following the elections.


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