Green grow the EV and hybrid sales in April

Nissan and Honda complement US green-vehicle gains.

The first full month of spring in 2017 marked continued growth in US demand for green vehicles, though at a slower pace than during the first quarter of the year. Americans boosted sales of hybrids, plug-ins, and a smattering of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 6.5 percent from a year earlier to more than 38,000 units. For plug-ins alone, sales jumped 33 percent to about 13,500 vehicles.

US automakers General Motors and Ford, as well as Honda and Nissan, all reported positive momentum, and more than offset down months from companies such as Toyota and BMW. GM's green-car sales surged 34 percent from a year earlier to 3,539 units largely on a monthly-record 1,292 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles sold. That offset the 8.9 percent decline sales for the Chevy Volt extended-range plug-in, which moved 1,807 units.

Nissan also came up big, boosting sales of its Leaf EV by 35 percent from a year earlier to 1,063 units. Ford also continued to increase green-car demand, which was up 20 percent to 7,517 units. Specifically, Ford Fusion Hybrid sales more than doubled from a year earlier to 4,509 units, while C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid sales advanced 19 percent to 720 units.

Finally, Honda continues to benefit from comparatively anemic 2016 sales by increasing green-car demand almost fivefold to 1,937 units. The Honda Accord Hybrid accounted for 1,787 of those vehicles.

Such advances more than offset weaker months from BMW, Toyota and Audi. Toyota's green-car sales fell 12 percent from a year earlier to 18,855 units. Combined, the four Prius variants' sales declined 19 percent to 9,708 vehicles, while Camry, Avalon, and Highlander Hybrid sales were also all down. Additionally, Lexus hybrid sales fell 19 percent. BMW's i plug-in sub-brand recorded a 43-percent drop in sales to 539 units. And Audi's sales of its A3 Sportback e-tron declined 6.2 percent to 301 units.

Through the first four months of the year, US green-car sales rose 18 percent to about 150,000 vehicles, while plug-in vehicle sales have climbed 51 percent to more than 52,000 units.

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