Sales Data: Prius & Hybrids Suffer Cheap Gas & Economy

By dancurranjr On March 7th, 2009

priusxToyota Motor Corp. reported a dismal sales for February.  But the beloved Toyota Prius hybrid that has captured the hearts and minds of the green class posted dismal sales numbers as well.  The economy and cheap gas prices are at least making the Prius a major disappointment.  Toyota might even be hiding just how low the demand for hybrids is because it did not break out hybrid unit sales for its Highlander and Camry hybrids like it did in 2008.

The Prius mid-size gas-electric hybrid posted February sales of 7,232 units, down from 10,895 a year earlier and 14.5% fewer than in 2007.  Even if we take out the one day difference for the calendar sales days, this drop would be more than 30%.

Camry and Camry Hybrid remained Toyota’s volume leader in February, posting combined sales of 20,634 units.   The automaker sold 5,008 units of the Highlander Hybrid posted combined sales of 5,008 units.  As you will see in last year’s reporting, Toyota used to break out the hybrid sales.

  • FEB-2008 SALES DATA: Passenger-car sales were led by Camry, which posted best-ever February sales of 34,914, an increase of 4.3% over the FEB-2007. Camry Hybrid reported sales of 4,121 units in February, up 19% over FEB-2007.  Highlander and Highlander Hybrid posted combined sales of 10,513 in February, up 7.7% over FEB-2007. The Highlander Hybrid gas-electric mid-size SUV reported sales of 1,938 units for the month.

Just yesterday we noted how Honda Motor Co. has become a thorn in the side because of a much cheaper competing model to the Prius.

The difference of one less selling day this February compared with last year is not even a footnote considering the results.  The trends are just bad.  Fewer jobs means fewer car buyers.  Less credit and lower car trade-in prices means fewer cars bought.  Less job security means lower auto buying.  Gas being under $2 per gallon takes out much of the urgency to go green.  And on, and on.

It is becoming obvious that when when consumers have less green in the bank, they are less green all around.

SOURCE: 24/7 Wall Street

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