June wasn’t a good month for hybrid sales. With gas prices remaining low, buyers weren’t willing to spend the extra cash needed for a high mpg hybrid, no matter how much rhetoric was put out there about the need to reduce oil imports after the Gulf oil spill.
Here’s the numbers: While overall car sales increased by more than 14% from June 2009 to this June, sales of hybrid cars actually fell by 17.5 percent, compared to last June. For the month, hybrids represented just 2.2% of overall new car sales, which is much lower than the usual 2.7 or 2.8% that hybrid sales had been running at.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind. Automakers had a lot of incentives out there on their conventional models, but not on hybrids. That may be changing as I’m now seeing commercials advertising 0% financing on the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The year to year comparison is also skewed a bit by the fact that gasoline prices did not experience their typical beginning of the summer increase – gas prices did increase last year, and hybrid sales did jump along with the increase in gasoline prices. Also, the car companies do seem to understand that they need to come out with new and cheaper hybrid models if they want to increase sales and meet the new federal mpg requirements, which start to phase in beginning in 2012. Coming out (hopefully) in the near future should be some lower priced cars such as the Honda Fit Hybrid, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Honda CR-Z hybrid, and additional Prius models from Toyota.