2010 Honda Insight - sideEnlarge Photo
Ford Escape Hybrid FrontEnlarge Photo
2010 Ford Fusion HybridEnlarge Photo
2008 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Los Angeles Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
2005 Chevrolet Silverado HybridEnlarge Photo
2009 Nissan Altima HybridEnlarge Photo
2010 Hyundai ElantraEnlarge Photo
2010 Kia RioEnlarge Photo
Sales from the world's biggest carmaker were down 20 percent, including Lexus and Scion. But Toyota had the country's most popular car, the Camry midsize sedan, which sold 356,824. Its Corolla compact sedan (and Matrix hatchback) sold another 296,874 units.
The all-new 2010 Toyota Prius, the third generation of the company's most recognizable dedicated hybrid, sold 139,682. Overall, Toyota sold 173,655 hybrids, or 1.1 percent of its total sales of 1.55 million. Non-Prius hybrid sales were split between the Camry Hybrid sedan and Highlander Hybrid crossover.
The company's luxury Lexus brand sold another 21,890 hybrids, including 6,699 of the new HS 250h dedicated hybrid sedan, which went on sale in August. Of the remainder of 15,191, the popular RX 450h crossover--new for 2010--represented fully 14,464 sales, with a small handful of hybrid LS full-size sedans and GS midsize sedans making up the rest.
Meanwhile, the Scion line of small cars sold 57,961. At the New York Auto Show this spring, Scion will launch the production version of its 2011 Scion iQ mini-car, only slightly larger than the two-seat Smart ForTwo.
Sales were down 19 percent, including Acura, and every model that had been sold during 2008 declined.
Honda sold 15,119 Civic Hybrids, down 52 percent from 2008, but more than made up the difference with 20,572 sales of the new 2010 Insight dedicated hybrid that went on sale last February. That's less than half the number of Insights Honda had hoped to sell in the car's first 12 months, indicating that an inexpensive hybrid with some performance compromises may not be what the market is asking for.
Next week at the Detroit Auto Show, Honda will unveil the production version of the 2011 CR-Z hybrid sports coupe, which shares the same platform as the 2010 Insight. A Fit Hybrid is expected to follow the CR-Z.
While it's been making hybrids since 2004, until this year Ford has never sold more than about 25,000 a year. This year, the total rose to 33,502, a 72 percent increase over last year's 20,000 or so. But that's still a far cry from the doubling of hybrid sales Ford had projected a year ago.
Those sales were equally split between 15,554 of the new, very well-reviewed 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan (plus 1,468 of its low-volume 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid sibling) and 14,787 of its established Ford Escape Hybrid compact crossover (plus 1,693 similar Mercury Mariner Hybrids).
Despite its 30-percent sales decline, General Motors sold TK hybrid vehicles. They were split among the Two-Mode full hybrid system, and a handful of leftover vehicles fitted with the company's mild-hybrid Belt-Alternator-Starter system.
While GM's sales fell 30 percent to 2.08 million vehicles, it managed to sell a total of 16,142 hybrid cars and trucks among its Chevrolet, GMC, Saturn, and Cadillac brands.
That represents 8,820 Two-Mode full hybrids, split between sport-utility vehicles (7,221) and full-size pickup trucks (1,576), plus 7,345 Chevrolet and Saturn vehicles fitted with the Alternator-Starter system. That mild-hybrid system will be revamped for 2011, so look for its hybrid sales to soar in a couple of years.
In 2009, Nissan and Infiniti sales fell 19 percent, from 951,350 to 770,103. Of more than 200,000 Altimas sold, exactly 9,357 were the company's only hybrid model, the Altima Hybrid, representing 4.6 percent of Altima sales and 1.2 percent of total sales.
After the Altima, the company sold 83,000 each of its Sentra compact and Versa subcompact, along with 77,000 of its Rogue compact crossover.
Hyundai and Kia were the big winners in 2009, up 9 percent on the strength of its low prices, long warranties, and fuel-efficient small and medium-sized cars and crossovers.
Hyundai is expected to introduce its first hybrid for the 2011 model year, but the company has already said it will replace many V-6 models with more powerful four-cylinder engines for better gas mileage.