Americans continued to take a wait-and-see approach with their green-car purchases last month, as Tesla's Model 3 and Nissan's next-generation Leaf electric vehicles were still largely under wraps.
January sales of hybrids, plug-ins and fuel-cell vehicles fell more than 8 percent from a year earlier to about 30,000 vehicles. Plug-in vehicle sales were down about 6 percent to more than 11,000 units. Green-car sales were down more than 10 percent last year.
Few automakers came away unscathed. Both Ford and General Motors, which boosted green-car sales in 2017, had down months. Ford's green-car sales plunged 37 percent from a year earlier to 4,388 units, as Fusion Hybrid demand dropped 48 percent to 2,519 units. And while the Chevrolet Bolt EV's sales kept pace with last year, sales of the Volt extended-range plug-in dropped 56 percent from a year earlier to 713 units. Overall, GM's green-car sales, which were bolstered by demand for the Buick LaCrosse eAssist hybrid, declined 3.3 percent to 3,028 vehicles.
Honda's green-car sales also declined, as Accord Hybrid sales fell 72 percent to 487 units. While the Japanese automaker benefited from the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid's 594 units sold, overall green-car sales fell 15 percent from a year earlier to 1,494 units.
Meanwhile, BMW's i sub-brand of plug-in vehicles saw a 4.2 percent sales decline to 414 units.
The month would've been worse had Toyota, the world's biggest seller of hybrids, not had a positive month. While the four Prius variants combined for an 11 percent decline to 6,943 units sold last month, sales of the Camry, Highlander, Avalon and Rav4 Hybrid were all up, while Mirai fuel-cell vehicle sales more than doubled. Overall, Toyota's green-car sales advanced 5 percent to 15,042 units.