Buyers have shown increasing interest in hybrid vehicles during the past few years and 2008 is no exception.  Despite economic downturn, hybrid sales still increased dramatically in 2008.

Consumers want hybrid vehicles.  The numbers prove it.  Amidst slumping vehicle sales, hybrid vehicles still saw gains overall in 2008 compared to sales in the 2007 model year.  Sales of hybrid vehicles in the North American market in 2008 jumped to 372,744 units, an increase of 23.2% over 2007 sales of 302,445 units.

Growth of hybrid sales can be linked to increased production and increased availibility of hybrid vehicles.  Domestic production of hybrid vehicles jumped 131.5% in 2008 as new hybrid models from companies such as Saturn and Nissan hit the market.

Hybrid sales rose in all categories including light trucks.  Light truck hybrids increased 22.5% in 2008 due to increased availibility with new products from Ford and Mercury and hybrid cars increased 23.5%.  SUV hybrid sales also showed an increase for 2008.

Though the automotive market as a whole saw decreased sales, hybrids did not.  Early predictions expected hybrid sales to be higher than they were in 2008, but the economic downturn caused hybrids to fall short of the goal.  However, an increase of 23.2% during the tough economic times is certainly respectable. 

2008 marks the fourth consecutive year of increased hybrid sales in the North American market since the introduction of the Ward's survey in 2005.  With more hybrids on the way, 2009 may mark the fifth consecutive year.

Source:  Wards Auto