Hybrid sales hit their lowest mark since 2004, dropping nearly 43% in December to 17,698 units. Keep in mind that in 2004 there were considerably fewer hybrid models available, with the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid accounting for 95% of the market. In 2008, there were at least 20 hybrid models on sale.
The decline caps a year of unexpected difficulties for hybrids, which saw high demand in the summer months, only to fall off a cliff later in the year, along with gas prices. The Prius — the pinup of hybrids — saw a sales decline of 44.7% in December and 12.3% for the year.
Overall hybrid sales were down 10% for 2008, accounting for only 2.4% of new vehicle sales. Apparently, consumer interest in hybrids lags far behind the rhetoric surrounding them. However, car sales overall were down more than 30%, so while hybrids didn’t see any gains, they did fare better than their non-hybrid competition.
Reported Sales of Hybrids Down 42.8% in December, 10% for 2008 (GreenCarCongress)