U.S. hybrid car sales have really taken a beating the last couple of months despite high gasoline prices. The decline is attributed to a lack of inventory rather than a lack of interest – the Japan earthquake and tsunami has caused widespread supply shortages of the cars and their parts. At the same time, the high gasoline prices has increased the demand for hybrids, which has increased prices and eliminated any company incentives.
Overall car sales were down too, as the U.S. economy appears to be weakening ( partly due to those high gas prices). The overall auto market was down 4% compared to May of last year. But hybrids were hit especially hard due to lack of cars – they dropped 42.1% compared to May of last year. Hybrid sales have basically dropped in half over the last two months since the earthquake hit – 34,000 cars in March, 25,000 cars in April, 16,000 in May. Ouch!
In the plug-in front, 1,142 Nissan Leaf’s were sold in May, vs 481 Chevy Volts.
Most analysts expect the supply disruptions to be over by the fall, so we’ll have to see if hybrid sales rebound once more cars are available.