US green-car sales in March once again fell from a year earlier, as more automakers who'd been selling low-volume models appeared to be phasing those models out altogether. Plug-in vehicle sales were up, though, and we pretty much have Tesla and Chevrolet to thank for that.

Last month's sales of hybrids, diesels, and plug-ins were down 24 percent.

Last month's sales of hybrids, diesels, and plug-ins were down 24 percent to about 34,480 units. Once again, much of that deficit (almost 11,000 vehicles) stemmed from the continued stop-sale Volkswagen and its Audi affiliate are employing with their diesel vehicles as the German automakers figure out how best to "fix" the problems caused by the diesel-cheat software scandal.

But Toyota also continued to falter, as the sale of more than 3,000 RAV4 Hybrids couldn't offset the 25-percent plunge across the Prius vehicle's four variants. Overall, Toyota green-car sales were down almost 10 percent to about 21,000 units.

Ford tread water by comparison, as green-car sales declined 4.7 percent to about 5,700 units. Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid sales jumped up 48 percent from a year earlier, but Fusion Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energy PHEV and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales were all down.

Prospective Nissan Leaf buyers continued to take a wait-and-see approach, as March sales fell 31 percent from a year earlier to 1,246 units.

Overall, Honda's green-car sales plunged 78 percent.

Honda green-car sales continue to disappear, as the Fit EV, Accord Plug-in Hybrid, and Insight hybrid – as well as the Acura ILX and RLX Hybrids – either recorded goose-eggs or close to them in March sales. Overall, Honda's green-car sales plunged 78 percent to 401 units.

And BMW also continues to be on the downswing, as sales of its i sub-brand of plug-in vehicles dropped 60 percent from a year earlier to 421 units.

Saving the day were Tesla and Chevrolet. Tesla said Monday that it delivered 14,820 vehicles during the quarter, or almost 50 percent more than year-earlier totals. Tesla notably doesn't disclose monthly sales, nor does it break out sales by country or region, but with the company recording deliveries of 2,400 Model X SUVs for the quarter, that breaks out to an 800-per-month average.

Sales of the Chevy Volt almost tripled.

Meanwhile, the second-gen Chevrolet Volt continues to gain fans. Sales of the extended-range plug-in hybrid almost tripled from a year earlier to 1,865 units, driving up GM's green-car sales by 30 percent from a year earlier.

Overall, US plug-in vehicle sales rose 12 percent from a year earlier to almost 9,011 units.

Adding up the first-quarter numbers, green-car sales were down 22 percent to almost an even 89,000 units. First-quarter plug-in sales rose 8.6 percent from a year earlier to about 23,000 units.


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