Sales were down in June from May for hybrids but up for plug-ins. The hybrid sales trend looks more in line with the overall new vehicle market – up from a year ago and down from May, which can be seasonally normal. Gasoline prices have not spiked up in several months, either, which is always a sales factor for hybrids – new and used.
During the past six months, batteryelectric vehicles took the lead in sales over plug-in hybrid/extended range. Much of that had to do with the Tesla Model S coming to market and an aggressive marketing campaign for the Nissan Leaf. Plug-in hybrids/extended range (Volt) led the market over battery electric models (Leaf) during 2011 and 2012, and that changed over in the first six months of this year.
That’s not the whole story, though. There are more pure EV models on the market than hybrid/extended range. The Chevy Volt has taken the lead again for first time since February but pure EVs are still doing better with the Tesla Model S joining the race and price wars for the Honda Fit EV and Nissan Leaf moving up sales. At some point soon, there will be more plug-in hybrids on the market (including Mitsubishi models), and the Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi are likely to grow in sales transactions.
Everything else is fairly far behind the Volt, Leaf, and Model S with volumes of 2,698, 2,225, and 1,800, respectively, in June. The Prius Plug In is staying steady (584 units) and the two Ford Energi models are somewhat in that range (455 for C-Max Energi and 390 for the Fusion Energi). Automakers are making price cuts and pushing promotional campaigns, such as the Honda Fit EV, but its sales are still far behind the Big 3 EVs (208 units sold in June for the Fit EV).
The Chevrolet Spark EV has been long awaited and saw very slow sales in its first month; this has been the case for most of these cars like the Ford Focus EV and Honda Fit EV. GM appears ready to make a significant commitment to marketing the Spark and, as mentioned in The Big Picture, is focusing on it torque power as an appealing message to get “car guys” down to the dealerships. GM will start selling the Spark EV in South Korea by the end of this year, and will be bringing it to Europe as well.
Overall, plug-in EV sales are seeing an upward climb – it had a 12.7% growth from the previous month and 163.5% jump from a year earlier. The six month totals are impressive, too – 41,047 in the first six months of this year versus 17,837 in the first half of 2012. Regardless of the influence of new model launches and incentives, people are buying these cars in much larger numbers.