2012 Record Year for U.S. Hybrid Sales, But EVs Remain Insignificant

The U.S. auto industry posted a record year for hybrid sales during 2012 as almost 500,000 hybrids were sold, or 3.4% of the overall new vehicle market. This was twice the amount sold during 2011. Of that total, the Toyota and Lexus brands accounted for 70% of all hybrid sales as high gasoline prices and Toyota’s dominant position as the leading hybrid producer combined to produce the record.

The Prius family of hybrids accounted for more than 75% of the Toyota Motor Sales mix at 236,000 vehicles.

The Chevrolet Volt hybrid finished 2102 at 23,461.  The Nissan Leaf pure EV finished the year at 9,819 vehicles a mere 1.5% increase compared to 2011. The problem with hybrids and EVs – both forms of electric vehicles – remains cost. While existing buyers of are true believers and early adapters, the vast majority of budget constrained car shoppers are not. Nearly half of current EV buyers claim the best benefit of their ac/dc wheels is lower emissions when compared with emissions from gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles, but it’s not clear if they know how their electricity is generated, and 40% of the electricity in the U.S. comes from dirty coal.

However, once you get past this “puddle” of EV buyers –  and they don’t even form a “pool” since they comprise only 3.4% of the U.S. new vehicle market of 14.5 million (and that’s if you include hybrids as EVs; pure EVs have less than a 1% share) other people need to be brought into the clan. (Read AutoInformed on Green Talk from EV Makers Ignores Key Buyer Concern – Cost)

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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