Washington, D.C. – Reported sales of hybrids in the U.S. dropped by 44 per cent in March 2009, compared with March 2008, for a total of 21,433 units, according to the Green Car Congress. The drop was worse than that of the total light duty vehicle market, which fell by 36.8 per cent in the same period.
Hybrids represented 2.5 per cent of the new-vehicle market in March, down from 2.8 per cent in March 2008, but the highest percentage so far in 2009. Three new hybrid vehicles debuted toward the end of the month: the Honda Insight, Ford Fusion, and sister vehicle Mercury Milan, a brand not sold in Canada.
Toyota reported a drop of 56.8 per cent for the Prius, down to 8,924 units. The Camry Hybrid sold 2,554 units, down 63.1 per cent, and representing 9.9 per cent of all Camry sales. The Highlander Hybrid sold 1,307 units, down 53.7 per cent, and representing 19.2 per cent of all Highlanders sold. Conventional Camry sales were down 31 per cent, while conventional Highlander sales were down 49 per cent.
The Lexus RX 400h sold 1,165 units, a drop of 25.8 per cent, representing 18.9 per cent of all RX sales. Conventional RX model sales were down 19 per cent. The GS 450h sold 42 units, a drop of 35.4 per cent, representing 6.7 per cent of all GS sales. Conventional GS sales were down 64 per cent. The LS 600h L sold 25 units, down 78 per cent, for 2.9 per cent of all LS model sales. Conventional LS model sales were down 59 per cent.
The Honda Insight, on sale only during part of the month, sold 569 units. The Civic Hybrid sold 2,869 units, down 23.9 per cent, and representing 13.9 per cent of all Civics sold. Conventional Civic sales were down 54 per cent.
In a partial month debut, the Fusion and Milan hybrids sold a combined 451 units, representing 3.0 per cent of all Fusion and Milan models sold. The Escape and Mariner hybrids sold a combined 1,351 units, down 32.7 per cent, for 9.3 per cent of all Escape and Mariner models sold during the month. Conventional model sales of the two were down 12 per cent.
General Motors reported a total of 1,612 hybrids in March, comprised of 609 units of the Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade two-mode SUVs, or 7.3 per cent of total sales; 68 units of the Silverado and Sierra two-mode pickups, for 0.22 per cent of total sales; 362 Saturn Vue Hybrids, for 10.4 per cent of total sales; 547 Malibu Hybrids, for 3.7 per cent of total sales; and 26 units of the Saturn Aura Hybrid, for 1.3 per cent of total sales.
Nissan sold 834 units of the Altima Hybrid, which is available in only eight states, a 0.2 per cent increase from March 2008, and representing 4.3 per cent of total Altima sales. Sales of the conventional Altima were down 39 per cent.