Those 2016 model-year hybrids and plug-ins can't come soon enough. With updated technology either planned or expected for models such as the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle and the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, Americans continued to take a wait-and-see approach when it came to buying new green cars last month. Overall, things looked dim.

US sales of hybrids, plug-ins, and diesels plunged 22 percent in August from the same month a year ago to about 50,000 vehicles. Plug-ins, which until recently were pacing ahead of hybrids in terms of year-over-year growth, did worse, as the number of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold in August fell 28 percent from a year earlier to about 8,800 vehicles.

Thinks were particularly painful for Toyota, General Motors, Ford, and Nissan last month. Toyota's green-car sales dropped 25 percent from a year earlier to 26,367 vehicles, with sales of the four members of the Prius family falling 24 percent from a year earlier to 17,757 units. In fact, with the exception of the low-volume Highlander Hybrid, all of Toyota and its Lexus badge's green-car model sales were down.

Ford's green-car sales fell 25 percent from a year earlier to 6,503 units. While Ford's Lincoln MKZ hybrid sales were down "only" 5.9 percent, sales of the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Energi Plug-in Hybrid models as well as the Ford Focus Electric all fell more than 30 percent from August 2014.

As for GM, August's green-car sales plunged 42 percent from a year earlier to 2,420. Volt sales dropped 45 percent to 1,380 vehicles, while sales of the Cruze Diesel and Cadillac ELR extended-range plug-in were down substantially.

Sales of the Nissan Leaf EV continued to be sluggish, falling 56 percent from a year earlier to 1,393 units.

Heck, even BMW, which had been showing sales advances recently, stalled. Sales of the i3 battery-electric vehicle dropped 23 percent from a year earlier, so that, even with virtually no sales of the i8 plug-in hybrid a year earlier, BMW's i Brand sales fell 3.1 percent in August to 1,002 units.

The only real bright spot, aside from Tesla Motors (which doesn't publish monthly sales totals), was Honda, and that's because green-car sales fell less than one percent to 2,414 units. A 17-percent increase in Honda Accord Hybrid sales and higher Civic Hybrid sales offset the impact of a flat month for the Honda CR-Z and a 71-percent drop in sales of the Honda Insight.

Through August, US green-car sales were down 17 percent to about 363,000 units, while plug-in vehicle sales declined 13 percent to 68,750 units.

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