Toronto, Ontario – While traditional gasoline-powered vehicles still account for the vast majority of sales, alternative fuels are gaining acceptance in Canada, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Retail sales of light-duty vehicles equipped to run on alternative fuel sources such as diesel, ethanol and gasoline-electric grew from 2009 to 2010, although traditional gasoline-powered cars and light trucks still accounted for more than eight out of every ten new-vehicle sales last year.

Diesel penetration increased by 0.3 per cent in 2010, as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen increased their portfolios of diesel models, and Ford, GM and Ram continued to offer diesel versions of their full-size pickup trucks.

In contrast, deliveries of hybrid models fell to 1.0 per cent of the market, a drop of nearly one-half percentage point in comparison to 2009. The retail turn rate for hybrids – the number of days a vehicle sits on a dealer’s lot before selling – increased to 120 days, which J.D. Power attributed to consumers not being able to justify the price or value equation in the face of stabilized gasoline prices.

The increase in deliveries of flexible fuel vehicles increased almost twofold to 13.2 per cent of the market last year, led by the Dodge Grand Caravan, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford Escape and GMC Sierra 1500. Among individual major metro markets, flexible fuel penetration in Toronto exceeded all other markets, rising to 20.6 per cent in 2010 versus 12.1 per cent in 2009.

Hybrid penetration was highest in Vancouver at 1.9 per cent, almost double the national average and considerably higher than Toronto’s 1.1 per cent.

Diesel-powered vehicles accounted for 6.7 per cent of all new-vehicle sales in the Calgary/Edmonton market, an increase of 0.8 percentage points from the prior year.

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