On the hybrid side, the new RX 400h has a good showing while the Fit eeks out a positive amongst the non-hybrids.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
– Feb. 5, 2009
2009 Lexus RX 400h – 27 mpgUS city, 24 mpgUS highway and 25 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA.
In January of 2009, the RX 400h sold 1,556 units, up 23.5 percent vs. Jan. of 08. This occurred during the worst overall automobile sales decline in 27 years. Why? I have no idea?
The Lexus RX 400h, launched in 2006, features Lexus Hybrid Drive technology which set a new benchmark for environmental luxury-utility vehicles. Since its launch, the RXh has been delivered to over 50,000 customers and now accounts for nearly 20 percent of all RX model sales.
The RX 400h’s Hybrid Drive system is one of the most advanced powertrains in the world. Energy is stored in a 288 volt DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack that fits neatly under the rear seat. The battery's power is directed through a "boost converter" that efficiently raises voltage to 650V DC. An inverter changes this to 650V AC, providing its elevated power to a front-mounted 123 kW electric motor that turns as high as 12,400 rpm.
The RX 400h’s real achievement includes a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification in California (Tier 2-Bin 3 in other states), producing nearly 70 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new car. The RX 400h is also certified as a zero-evaporative emissions vehicle in California and those states adopting California standards.
Fuel Efficient Non-Hybrids
New for 2009, we are now tracking the Chevrolet Aveo’s sales figures given its low cost and 30 mpgUS combined fuel economy rating.
The new “Big 7” fuel efficient non-hybrids sales saw an overall decline of 21.1 percent vs. the January of 2007. The only vehicle that escaped was the Honda Fit as all manufacturers experienced yet another free fall in total sales.
Continuing to lead the non-hybrids in total sales, the Corolla saw 19,238 new owners in January, a decrease of 10.8 percent vs. January of 2008.
The Civic had one of its worst monthly declines on a percentage basis in some time with just 14,198 units sold, a decline of 35.0 percent vs. January of 2008. Very unusual for Honda to see one of their proverbial top sellers take a sales hit that steep.
This could be the Honda Fit’s year of success. January sales of 4,745 vehicles yielded a slight increase of 1.8 percent compared to the January 2008 sales period. This is in sharp contrast to its biggest subcompact competitor, the Toyota Yaris sales collapse.
As mentioned above, the Toyota Yaris saw 4,440 units sold in January. This was a decrease of 44.3 percent vs. the same period a year ago. Again, very unusual for a car that is quite possibly the lowest total cost of ownership vehicle in America.
It has been some time since the Mini took a hit and in January, its MINI Cooper sales stalled. Mini sales decreased by 15.4 percent to 2,082 vehicles from 2,460 units sold during the same period a year ago.
Our first monthly sales report of the Chevrolet Aveo shows one of the steepest declines of not just the fuel efficient non-hybrids but almost any vehicle from any company last month. A poorly chosen month to start recording its sales on my part but nonetheless, the Aveo saw just 1,595 new owners in January, down 70.0 percent from the year ago sales period. Let us hope GM can find some magic to bring its sales back into the realm of the Yaris/Fit were it was in the not too distant past.
The Smart Fortwo will be compared to its sales last year for the first time as allotments began reaching dealership showrooms in mid-January, 2008. The Fortwo was received by 1,776 new owners in January, up 177.1 percent compared to the 641 units sold in January of 2008. As explained earlier, this is a short sales month due to the Fortwo’s initial market launch.
In Canada, Toyota's overall sales were up 0.3 percent to 9,681 vehicles, a new all-time record for Toyota’s January sales. This was highly unusual given the sales declines seen around the world. January highlights include the Corolla, up 35.2 percent to 2,612 vehicles.
January 2008 Fuel Efficient Non-Hybrid Sales Summary
| || ||Month to Date|| || ||Year to Date|| |
|Make and Model||January 2009||Decober 2008||DSR* % Change||January 2009||January 2008||DSR* % Change|
DSR*: Daily Selling Rate - There were 26 selling days for the January 2009 sales period vs. 25 in January 2008.
** Honda Civic sales include the HCH-II.
2009 Hybrid sales are faring better than the overall market declines but just barely. As January came to a close, every major hybrid saw large percentage sales declines other than the Lexus RX 400h vs. the year ago period.
The Toyota Prius posted January sales of 8,121, a decline of 31.4 percent from the January of 2008 sales period.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid achieved sales of just 1,141 units, down 70.7 percent vs. the January 2008 sales period. The worst of the hybrids and
non-hybrids and another vehicle whose sales decline on a percentage basis is hard to explain?
The Honda Civic Hybrid total sales fell 40.7 percent with only 1,076 units sold.
The HiHy sold 984 units, down 55.8 percent for the January 2009 vs. January 2008 comparison period.
The FEH/MMH twins' sales for January were down 42.6 percent for the month compared to Jan. 2008. In June of 2008, there was just one FEH available in all of Florida! How the Ford hybrid demand has literally disappeared!
The Lexus RX 400h hybrid reported sales of 1,556 units for the month, up a surprising 23.5 percent vs. the year ago sales period. Was Lexus offering an out of this world promotion because from my eyes, I do not get it considering the falloff in HiHy sales?
Sales of GM’s hybrids saw a total of 923 vehicles delivered in the month of January. GM this month did not provide an individual breakdown but compared to December sales of 2,555, the decline was as severe as one can imagine.
Overall sales for the Big 6 Hybrid’s were down by 39.0 percent for January 2009 vs. the 2008 sales period. This approximately matches the overall market decline but a decline of this proportion does not bode well for the industry or future hybrid sales in general.
January 2009 Hybrid Sales Summary
| || ||Month to Date|| || ||Year to Date|| |
|Make and Model||January 2009||January 2008||DSR* % Change||January 2009||January 2008||DSR* % Change|
|Toyota Camry Hybrid||1,141||3,750||-70.7%||1,141||3,750||-70.7%|
|Honda Civic Hybrid||1,076||1,745||-40.7%||1,076||1,745||-40.7%|
|Toyota Highlander Hybrid||984||2,143||-55.8%||984||2,143||-55.8%|
|Ford Escape Hybrid/Mercury Mariner Hybrid||880||1,474||-42.6%||880||1,474||-42.6%|
DSR*: Daily Selling Rate - There were 26 selling days for the January 2009 sales period vs. 25-days in January 2008.
Big 6 Manufacturers Overall
For the Monthly comparison, every manufacturer once again saw severe sales declines. Chrysler sales again led the decline, down 55 percent, GM sales were down 48.8 percent, Ford sales were down 40.2 percent, Toyota sales were down 34.9 percent, Honda sales were down 30.7 percent and for the first time being reported here, Nissan whose sales were off with off 30.9 percent on a daily selling rate basis. Nissan reports on a straight-percentage basis, unadjusted for the number of selling days in the month. All in, this was the worst January report in decades with no end in sight just yet.