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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hybrid Sales Top 205,000 in 2005 - Auto Execs Expect Big Gains for Hybrids in Future As Well

Two posts from Green Car Congress today highlight the strong sales performance of hybrid-electric vehicles.

In the first, GCC reports that sales of hybrids in the US topped 205,749 in 2005, closing out the year with strong December results of 18,238 total units sold. Hybrids thus made up 1.2% of both the 1,477,697 total light duty vehicles sold in the US last month, as well as the total 16,950,679 vehicles sold throughout the year.

Prius sales dominated the hybrid market this year, with sales cresting the 100,000 mark last month with 107,897 cars sold for the year, 52% of the total hybrid market. In 2004, Toyota only sold half as many Prius hybrids - 53,991 - representing 64% of the total market.

Detailed sales figures for all hybrid models can be found in the GCC article.

The second article discusses KPMG's annual Global Auto Executive Survey. According to article, auto executives surveyed by KPMG predict that hybrids as well as low-cost, small cars will make the biggest gains in market share over the next few years.

Eighty-eight percent of auto executives worldwide believe that hybrids will increase market share, according to the survey. That number rises to 100% for North American auto executives, apparently the first time the KPMG survey has ever encountered a 100% response.

Graphic: the chart above indicates the percentage of auto executives surveyed expecting a type of vehicle to increase market share over the next few years

The survey goes on to say:

"With fuel prices high and likely to stay there, if not increase (although prices have fallen in the past three months), one North American VM [vehicle manufacturer] executive said, “We will expect US$100 per barrel in the future.” It is not surprising that the two categories of vehicles respondents think most likely to gain market share are hybrids (up this year from 74 percent to 88 percent) and a new category for 2005, low-cost cars (79 percent)."

Interestingly, the survey revealed some sharp regional differences. While executives around the world did concur on the growth in hybrids and low-cost cars, crossovers SUVs which are touted by many automakers as a major growth area in North America rank much lower in Asia and Europe.

Larger SUVs, which are losing favor in North America [finally!] - only 6% of North American execs projecting growth in this category - are actually projected for strong growth in Asia and Europe.

Graphic: Regional differences in survey responses

GCC has more trends from the surveys here, but notable amongst them is that executives now think fuel efficiency is the second most-important consumer buying criterion. [That's good news to me! (The GCC article does not mention the #1 consumer buying criterion ... it's likely performance though which often contradicts the fuel efficiency criteria).]

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