With the shrinking automotive sales market, hybrids have stood their ground and increased their overall market share.
Many reports will draw on the fact that hybrid sales did indeed decline so far this year. In fact, overall hybrid sales dropped off dramatically. However, most reports do no point to one key fact. As hybrid sales as a group dropped off, their percent of the market share actually increased in the first quarter of 2009 in comparison to the first quarter of 2008.
Hybrid vehicles now hold 2.4 percent of the market compared to last year at 2.3 percent. The improvements may only be minor, but it's still an improvement.
Hybrid incentives are cited as the possible reason for the increased market share. Incentives combined with additional vehicles on the market likely contributed to the small gains seen by hybrids as a whole.
Look for sales to be up this year as two of the best selling hybrids have been completely reworked. The Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight look to square off this year and a price war appears to be underway.