Hybrid Car Sales Fell Sharply in November

Falling fuel prices and penny pinching consumers are not a plus for energy-saving technology, particularly the big ticket variety. And the latest auto sales figures complicate the plans of those who’d push Detroit towards making hybrids as one of the bailout concessions.

From the Financial Times:

US hybrid petro-electric sales in November shrank 53 per cent from a year earlier, compared with a 37 per cent drop overall, according to Autodata, a market-research firm. December sales, to be announced on Monday, are to show a similar trend.

Sales of most hybrid models have dropped sharply. Demand for Toyota’s Prius hatchback, the top-selling hybrid, fell by almost half in November from a year earlier. The Camry sedan was down 57 per cent, and the Ford Escape crossover 35 per cent.

The setback has been pronounced for larger models…

Edmunds.com estimates that a Prius owner must now wait more than eight years to recoup the extra cost of the vehicle in fuel savings, compared with three and a half years when the petrol price climbed above $4 a gallon last spring. The average price is now about $1.61.

Mr Pipas said that belt-tightening in the face of the weakening economy had become the dominant factor in the US car market. Small cars accounted for 18.7 per cent of sales in the three months to November, up from 16.6 per cent a year earlier, in spite of the slide in petrol prices.

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7 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Yves,
    By reading the influential media there seems to be an agreement on some issues.
    i) UberKeynesian policy must be followed without questioning.
    ii) Savings glut by China and oil exporters are to be blamed for the current problems.

    I am very troubled by this concerted and sinister propaganda. Could you pls elaborate on this in a special post because i think this issue will be crucial in coming years.Thanks for your great work.

    kaan

  2. Anonymous

    Perhaps the Treasury can use TARP money to run up oil futures, thereby increasing the price of gas to $4+ per gallon and ‘incentivizing’ car buyers to buy the new generation of hybrids coming from the Big Three.

    But only after everyone’s been suckered into buying the gas guzzlers piling up in warehouses.

    I’m so glad I live in this great capitalist nation of the USA, and not one of those commie or socialist countries that manipulates markets for societal goals.

  3. Anonymous

    The 70’s redux for domestic energy self-sufficiency and 000’s for American small cars production.

    Will someone please tell Saudi Arabia we want high oil prices. With the demise of the speculative investment banks and departure of bushco, speculative market manipulation may not help like it has in the past.

  4. Steve Higgins

    Great news because now is the perfect time to pick up a hybrid while very few want them!
    Now all I need is my anticipated frenzy in mortgage and real estate activity so I can pay CASH for one!
    :)
    Steve Higgins
    Boulder Real Estate and Mortgage Professional
    http://www.BoulderLoanRanger.com
    Boulder CO Homes and Loans

  5. Anonymous

    At some point, people will figure out that the lifetime cost of the hybrid, even with $5 a gallon average gas cost, is higher than a conventional gasoline engined car.

    D

  6. CRay

    … This is the perfect example of the American consumer …

    For 15 months everyone complained and cried when gas was $3.00 then $3.50, then $4.00 and more, many cried about losing their homes because of the increase — so, they blamed their minister, congressman, the car dealerships and the auto manufacturers ..

    Gas tumbles to $1.60 6 weeks ago and truck sales balloon … now everyone wants a new SUV and a 3/4 ton Chevy Silverado sitting in their driveway for the New Year.

    Aaah, who should we be blaming again..?!?

    — short term memory loss in only 6 weeks, it’s a wonderful thing.

  7. M.G.

    It would be nice if at the end of the day we discover that we do not need a car at all, thus we simply stop buying cars and get on other transportation means. For a better world, but with higher unemployment…

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