Last month, Nissan and BMW helped stem a disconcerting (for green-car watchers, at least) trend of declining year-over-year sales, as increased demand for the Japanese and German automakers' plug-in models made November slightly less painful than October. The year-over year decline of hybrid, plug-in and diesel sales narrowed to 10 percent in November from 13 percent in October, as Americans bought more than 43,000 new green cars. Last month's plug-in sales reversed their temporary decline, increasing 5.9 percent from a year earlier to more than 7,800 vehicles, not including the Tesla Model S (Tesla doesn't break out monthly nor North American sales).

The Nissan Leaf had its best-ever November.

The Nissan Leaf had its best-ever November, boosting sales 34 percent from a year earlier to 2,687 units. Bimmer continued to make an impact with its newer plug-ins, moving 816 i3 battery-electrics and 126 i8 plug-in hybrids. Also on the positive side of the ledger were both Porsche and Daimler's Smart division. Porsche's green-car sales were up more than fivefold to 530 units, primarily on its diesel models, while the Smart ForTwo ED battery-electric doubled year-earlier sales to a monthly-record 313 units.

Beyond those automakers, though, things looked more dour as falling gas prices may have yet again pulled people away from more fuel-efficient vehicles. Average US gas prices are down about a quarter a gallon from a month ago to $2.75, according to AAA.

Toyota Prius sales continued to fall.

Likely as a result, Toyota Prius sales continued to fall, with the model's four variants' sales declining 13 percent from a year earlier to 13,957 units. Camry and Avalon Hybrid sales each dropped more than 20 percent, while Lexus hybrid sales fell 6.1 percent. Overall, Toyota's green-car sales dropped 14 percent from a year earlier to 21,213 units.

US automakers Ford and General Motors also faltered. Ford green-car sales were down 18 percent from a year earlier on sales declines of the Fusion and C-Max hybrid and plug-in hybrid lines. GM was pulled down by the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, whose sales plunged 30 percent from a year earlier to 1,336 units. Overall, GM green-car sales dropped 28 percent from a year earlier to 2,617 units.

Even Honda, which had shown green-car sales increases all year, wasn't spared.

Volkswagen green-car sales fell 17 percent from a year earlier to 5,644 units, as diesel demand declined. And even Honda, which had shown green-car sales increases all year, wasn't spared in November. While Accord Hybrid sales doubled from a year earlier to 1,094 units, sales were down across the board with Honda's other green-car models, pulling sales down 13 percent from a year earlier to 2,087 units.

Through November, green-car sales fell 6.4 percent from a year earlier to about 558,000 units. Plug-in sales were up 30 percent to more than 90,000 units.




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