According to a just published by AP report, sales of hybrids were up 38% last year, led by the venerable Toyota Prius. Even though hybrid's only made up some 2.2 percent of the market share last year, their growth was notable in an automotive market that, as a whole, experienced a 3% decline for the year.
It does appear that the automakers are finally getting the message (GM's Bob Lutz told me that GM will be releasing a new hybrid every three months for the next year, though he appears geniunely skeptical on whether buyers will pay the premium for the hybrid tech. Hybrid automobiles will be essential if US automakers are to meet the fuel efficiency standards set forth in the 2007 energy bill passed on Dec 19th of last year.
Some interesting points from the article:
- Of the 350,289 hybrids sold in 2007, over 51% were Toyota Prius models, up from 43 percent in 2006 despite the influx of new hybrids.
- California remained the top state for hybrid sales in 2007. Twenty-six percent of all hybrid registrations were in California, up 35 percent from 2006. Florida, New York, Texas and Washington followed.
- Sales of hybrids are expected to jump another 30% in 2008, while overall sales of non hybrids are expected to continue to falter amid a weakened economy and $3-$4 gasoline.