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The Automakers Can't Win: Hybrid Cars Sales Also Plummet

Low Gas Prices Leave Hybrids on the Lot

Written by Steve Christ
Posted March 18, 2009 at 5:24PM


hybrid cars


Don't look now but even the "cars of tomorrow" are backing up on lots all across the country.

From the LA Times by Ken Bensinger entitled: Hybrid car sales go from 60 to 0 at breakneck speed

"The Ford and Honda hybrids due out this month are among dozens planned for the coming years as automakers try to meet new fuel-efficiency standards and please politicians overseeing the industry's multibillion-dollar bailout.

Unfortunately for the automakers, hybrids are a tough sell these days.

Americans have cut back on buying vehicles of all types as the economy continues its slide. But the slowdown has been particularly brutal for hybrids, which use electricity and gasoline as power sources. They were the industry's darling just last summer, but sales have collapsed as consumers refuse to pay a premium for a fuel-efficient vehicle now that the average price of a gallon of gasoline nationally has slipped below $2.

"When gas prices came down, the priority of buying a hybrid fell off quite quickly," said Wes Brown, a partner at Los Angeles-based market research firm Iceology. "Yet even as consumer interest declined, the manufacturers have continued to pump them out."

Last month, only 15,144 hybrids sold nationwide, down almost two-thirds from April, when the segment's sales peaked and gas averaged $3.57 a gallon. That's far larger than the drop in industry sales for the period and scarcely a better showing than January, when hybrid sales were at their lowest since early 2005."


That just goes to show you how important the price of gas is when it comes to the car models that sell.

After all, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

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