In 2012, hybrids as a group outsold all but a handful of segments, including midsize luxury cars, small cross/utility vehicles and each of the three SUV segments.
WardsAuto has been tracking sales of hybrids, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids since the market emerged in 1999, and a study of the 2012 sales data for these alternative-fuel vehicles is particularly worthwhile.
U.S. consumers bought 427,605 hybrids last year, up from 261,507 in 2011, according to WardsAuto data. That’s a 64% increase.
In fact, hybrids as a group outsold all but a handful of segments, including midsize luxury cars, small cross/utility vehicles and each of the three SUV segments.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. market share for alternative-fuel vehicles grew to 2.8%. The segment dipped slightly in 2010 and 2011 but then came roaring back in 2012, finishing the year with 3.3% of the U.S. market. That’s nearly a half-million vehicles, the vast majority of which are hybrids.
A market once pioneered and dominated by the Japanese now is populated by the Europeans, and not only in the luxury-car segment.
is launching the new competitively priced Jetta Hybrid in the U.S., and it’s arguably a hybrid of a different stripe, with a peppy engine and sophisticated transmission. It’s a lot of fun to drive, which you haven’t been able to say about all hybrids.
New hybrids have recently entered the market from, , , BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes, and others are on the way from Acura, Infiniti, Honda, Nissan and Subaru. Even Rolls-Royce has a hybrid. Toyota, the king of the hybrids, is setting out to have hybrid versions of every vehicle in its portfolio.
Don’t forget battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids. A more affordable version of theLeaf is on the way, as is a battery version of the Chevy Spark. is bringing both a new full-electric vehicle and an extended-range EV, both with lightweight carbon-fiber bodies. And the extended-range Chevy Volt EV will be joined in GM’s lineup by the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Volt.
Clearly, the market for hybrid-electric vehicles continues to grow.