November 2010 was a good month for car sales. Automakers posted their monthly reports and sales were up over November 2009, including the sale of hybrid and other fuel-efficient models. Despite continuing economic uncertainty and a slight increase in unemployment, new car sales were up. Could this be a sign that the economy is improving?
American Honda sales rose 16.1 percent over November 2009. Eco-friendly consumers purchased 612 Honda Civic Hybrids during the month, a 141.4 percent increase over November 2009. Sales of the new Honda CR-Z hybrid came in at 1,024 units, and 1,536 Honda Insights were sold (up 4.9 percent from 2009.) Sales of the Honda Fit, a fuel-efficient subcompact, were up 12.2 percent over last year with 4,180 units sold.
While Ford doesn’t post separate sales figures for its hybrid models, the company’s report did note that 21 percent of the company’s Lincoln MKZ sales were the hybrid model. Sales of the company’s fuel-efficient Focus were up 27.8 percent over last year, and the company’s sold nearly 3,500 Fiestas in November. Overall, Ford’s sales were up 24 percent from November 2009.
Unfortunately Toyota bucked the sales trend and posted an overall decrease during the month. Sales across all Toyota and Lexus lines were down 7.3 percent over November 2009. Despite the decline in total sales, the Toyota Prius continued its reign as the best-selling hybrid in the United States with 10,224 units sold. This is a 1.9 percent increase over November 2009 but a slight decrease from October 2010. Toyota has sold more than 125,000 Priuses so far this year, down slightly from the nearly 128,000 sold during the same time period last year.
Next month when automakers post their December sales, consumers may get their first glimpse at Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt sales. The two vehicles are being released in select markets but everyone wants to know if they will have an effect on Toyota Prius sales.