When the Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program here in the U.S. ended, I wondered how many of the buyers who took advantage of the rebate chose to purchase a hybrid. Buying a hybrid made the most sense, in my view, especially with the slight surge in gas prices just before the program launched. If I had owned my own clunker — a well-loved 1989 Honda Accord — long enough, I would have traded her in for a hybrid, perhaps a Ford Fusion.
Sales figures for August are in, courtesy of Autodata, and it appears that a significant number of people had the right idea and traded their clunkers for hybrids. Hybrid sales here in the U.S. jumped almost 10% over the previous month, and were up nearly 50% from August of last year. Toyota sold more hybrids in August than any other automaker, buoyed by sales of their popular third-gen Prius, the Lexus HS 250S, and the Camry and Highlander hybrids. Behind Toyota was Honda, selling a total of 4,900 hybrids, most of which (4,200 of them) were the new Insight. Ford also grabbed a chunk of hybrid market share, selling nearly 4,700 hybrid units, up 17% over August of last year.
Now that the CARS program as ended, of course overall car sales figures will drop, but it will be interesting to see if consumers continue to choose fuel-efficient hybrids over their non-hybrid counterparts.