Hybrid Sales Plunge in January

We all know the economy is broken. Nobody is spending money on anything (especially if no one gets bonuses). According to UK auto statistics firm, Autodata, even hybrids have taken a sales plunge in January.

Looking at the Autodata compilation, there was a purchase surge beginning in February of 2008 which lasted until April before hybrid sales began to decline. They saw another quick increase over the summer when gas price caused a panic, and then began to teeter off as gas prices came down.


In January, a total of 15,442 hybrid vehicles were sold in the US. These numbers reflected a 31% drop from last month, and a 41% drop from January of last year. There is a positive to this though: Hybrid sales did not drop as much as the rest of the light-duty vehicle market (cars and light trucks), and make up 2.35% of sales in the total car markets.

Overall, that’s not such a big deal. After all, our economy is broken, remember? Toyota experienced a slight drop, with the Prius not performing up to its standard and the Camry hybrid still not taking hold. The only car to post an increase in sales was the Nissan Altima Hybrid (36% increase, year-to-year).

What really perplexes me is General Motors’ hybrid sales. Over half of their reported hybrid sales have been Tahoes, Yukons, or Escalades. First, I don’t know too much about those types of cars themselves, but aren’t those all basically the same SUV? It still blows my mind that GM feels the need to make three identical SUVs and slap different brands on them, but what do I know? I ride a bike everywhere. Second, hybrid technology doesn’t really make up for the abysmal MPG performance of those cars. Don’t get me wrong, every mile adds up, but wouldn’t it be more efficient to just buy a smaller car?

I guess I should be happy that GM offers hybrid versions of their most luxurious vehicles.

Sources: Green Car Congress and Autodata

Image Credit: Thanks to Burning Image for the epic wide angle shot of the Honda Hybrid (via Flickr’s under a Creative Commons License).

Anthony Cefali

Anthony is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in biology as well as English. He became interested in the biofuel initiative after getting a job in the Raines Lab of Petroleum Alternatives at the university turning sugars into biofuels. He is the first to admit that he doesn't fully understand everything that he does or is trying to do, but enjoys doing his bit to help the environment. Anthony has very few plans for his future, but is interested in how natural systems work and how urban development changes these systems. On a good day, Anthony enjoys riding his bike really far away and reading Kurt Vonnegut books.