Sales trends for hybrid cars rise and fall with the Toyota Prius. Toyota usually sells as many units of the quintessential hybrid as all other gas-electric cars combined. But February was far from a usual month. Multiple safety recalls throughout February, including one issued on the 2010 Prius, threw the company into full damage control and put doubts into the hearts of car shoppers. As a result, Prius sales in February fell 6.1 percent compared to the previous month. Discounts on three-year Prius leases probably prevented even further losses.
As severe as these problems were, they were not as bad as the global economic meltdown from a year ago. In fact, Prius sales in February are up 10.2 percent compared to one year ago. Overall hybrid sales matched the Prius sales trends: Year-to-date sales for the first two months of 2010 are up 7.2 percent for the Prius and 7.1 percent for all hybrids.
Largely as a result of Toyota�"s woes, February 2010 is one of the rare months where the rate of hybrid sales lagged behind overall vehicle sales, which jumped by 11.1 percent compared to the 3.7 percent decline in hybrid sales. February's percent market share�at 2.12 percent�is the lowest for hybrids since 1.97 percent in December 2008. Last year, hybrids nearly reached 3 percent of the new car market and are forecast to climb by approximately a single point of market share every year for the coming few years. It remains to be seen how long Toyota is embroiled in safety recalls and how that will affect hybrid sales.
Read More... [Source: HybridCars.com]