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July Auto Sales: Alt-Fuel Vehicles Pass Market-share Milestone

Toyota Prius Helps Hybrid Deliveries Advance by 44 Percent

Charles Krome
by Charles Krome
August 6, 2013
2 min. Reading Time

For the first time in the modern era, alternative-fuel vehicles—including hybrids, EVs, diesels and CNG-powered entries—have combined to capture more than 5 percent of the U.S. marketplace. That’s the big news from our friends at the HybridCars.com Dashboard, where the data showed:

  • Hybrid sales up by 43.9 percent, on the strength of 45,494 deliveries
  • Plug-in vehicles tallying 7,442 units, up 144.4 percent
  • Diesel-engined choices increasing volume by 38.1 percent, thanks to 13,102 sales

On the CNG front, the one mass-market retail entry, the Honda Civic Natural Gas, saw sales balloon by 49.6 percent and delivered 190 units in July.

Looking at the other segments individually, we find the Toyota getting more of its ducks in a row in among the “traditional” hybrids: Despite a strong month by the Ford Fusion—the fastest-growing performer in the hybrid top 10—the Blue Oval’s midsizer was caught and overtaken in volume by the Toyota Prius v. As a result, Toyota had the four highest-selling hybrids in America last month, including the Toyota Camry hybrid and the three non-plugged Toyota Prii.

Also making a notable move in the standings in July was the Kia Optima Hybrid. Although it only moved ahead by one position, to No. 11 on the list, the Optima Hybrid has seen an ongoing surge in demand as the months go by and passed up the brand-new Toyota Avalon by more than 100 units last month. As for the 10 hybrid models that finished ahead of the Kia in July sales, they were:

  • Toyota Prius Liftback—15,252 sales, up 60.7 percent
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid—4,193 sales, up 31.2 percent
  • Toyota Prius c—3,797 sales, up 23.1 percent
  • Toyota Prius v—3,428 sales, up 1.4 percent
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid—2,914 sales, up 162.8 percent
  • Ford C-MAX—2,267 sales in its first July
  • Hyundai Sonata Hybrid—2,200 sales, up 16.5 percent
  • Chevrolet Malibu with eAssist—1,338 sales, down 31 percent
  • Lexus ES Hybrid—1,324 sales in its first July
  • 10. Lexus CT200h—1,306 sales, down 12.9 percent

July Auto Sales: Nissan LEAF Recaptures EV Sales Lead

The Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt have been slugging it out for leadership of the plug-in segment much of the year, and it was the LEAF that won the most recent round. In fact, while the LEAF continued its torrid 2013 sales pace by posting another triple-digit increase in volume last month, the Volt actually dipped into the red. Consumers can look for that to change in the very near future, however, as Chevy has cut pricing on the Volt by more than $4,000 for the 2014 model year.

It’s also worth noting that Tesla is poised to pass both those entries for EV sales leadership in August. The company doesn’t directly report numbers as other automakers do, but the HybridCars team estimates that Tesla sold 1,550 units of the Model S in the United States in July, with U.S. volume limited last month as the brand ramps up its European business. And the Tesla Model S remains the best-selling EV in the country on a year-to-date basis, with, as you can see below, a steep falloff between its July performance and that of the next best-selling plugged vehicle:

  • Nissan LEAF—1,864 sales, up 371.9 percent
  • Chevy Volt—1,788 sales, down 3.3 percent
  • Tesla Model S—1,550 sales (approx.), up 5,244.8 percent
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in—817 sales, up 18.8 percent
  • Ford C-MAX Energi—433 sales in its first July
  • Ford Fusion Energi—407 sales in its first July
  • Ford Focus EV—150 sales, up 294.7 percent
  • Toyota RAV4 EV—109 sales in its first July
  • Chevy Spark EV—103 sales in its first July
  • Honda Fit EV—63 sales, up 800 percent

July Auto Sales: Chevy Cruze Breaks into Diesel Top 10

While the German brands still dominate the diesel leaderboard, the new Chevrolet Cruze Clean Diesel Turbo jumped up four positions for its first finish in the top 10. True, its eighth-place result was based on a mere 350 or so July sales, but it also was within 13 units of the two vehicles ahead of it on the list. Which included the VW Beetle TDI, another Volkswagen product that is quickly moving up the diesel rankings. Like the Cruze, the Beetle diesel also moved up four positions, going from 11th to seventh.

The next wave of clean-diesel vehicles from Audi found its way to dealerships last month as well, and while the Audi A6 and Audi A7 diesels didn’t make much of a splash, the Audi Q5 managed a relatively strong debut, with 231 sales. That was just outside the diesel segment’s top-10 best-sellers list in July, as shown here:

  • VW Jetta TDI—4,821 sales, up 27.3 percent
  • VW Passat TDI—3,997 sales, up 84.1 percent
  • VW Golf TDI—709 sales, down 20 percent
  • Porsche Cayenne Diesel—478 sales in it first July
  • BMW X5 Xdrive35d—468 sales, down 38.3 percent
  • VW Touareg TDI—360 sales, up 8.4 percent
  • VW Beetle TDI—348 sales in its first July
  • Chevy Cruze Clean Diesel Turbo—347 sales in its first July
  • Mercedes GLK-Class Diesel—344 sales in its first July
  • Audi Q7 TDI—319 sales, up 38.1 percent


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