The manufacturers spin their sales figures for headlines. The media anoints its darlings and then reports their staggering sales success. Here are some factual observations and some opinion for flavor.
Each quarter the US automakers announce their sales figures in press releases. These make their way through the automotive media and then onto the mainstream media. By the time the news arrives on the TV news, it has been distorted and spun in ways that make the niche sellers seem like big movers, and the actual heavy movers are rarely mentioned. Here are some observations. We will present the factual sales numbers as reported in financial releases, and then comment on why this is unusual. Unless otherwise noted these numbers are US sales. When you read these numbers keep in mind that in a typical year about 12 million cars and light trucks are sold in the US.
The Original Green Machines
Listening to the TV news, scanning the headlines of a national newspaper (other than the WSJ), gives one the impression that electric cars and hybrids are all the rage. Lets’ take a look and see if that is actually the case. Honda brought the US its first hybrid, the Insight. Honda has always offered hybrids since then, and is offering hybrid Civics and other models besides Insight. What percentage of Honda’s US sales are hybrid vehicles? If you guessed 1.5% you are right. We threw the hydrogen fuel cell and electric Hondas into the mix as well. Only 54 total of those so far in 2012.