As gas prices rose steadily through the first eight months of 2008, hybrid-powered vehicles disappeared from dealer lots pretty much as fast most manufacturers could build and deliver them. However, once Labor Day hit, Toyota, Nissan and Ford hybrids were no more immune than any other vehicle type to the market realities. Priuses, Escapes, Civics and others all sat stagnant as loans became increasingly difficult to get and people feared for their jobs.

By year's end, the only car makers to see an overall increase in hybrid sales were General Motors and Nissan. GM added general availability of the Tahoe and Yukon two-modes as well as the new Vue and Malibu mild hybrids. That resulted in a 179 percent increase, while Nissan Altima hybrids climbed 5.1 percent. Ford's Escape/Mariner hybrids dropped 22 percent, Honda's Civic dropped 12.5 percent and Toyota's array of hybrids dropped a similar amount. Chrysler sold a total of 81 Durango and Aspen hybrids.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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