Hybrid sales in December 2011 at their highest since Japan disaster

Article by Anita Panait, on January 19, 2012

Hybrid cars’ December 2011 sales were at their highest monthly level since March 2011, when Japan was hit simultaneously by an earthquake and tsunami causing supply disruptions. Toyota Prius’ December volume was at its highest since March 2011, and higher all other months since August 2009. Toyota’s volume is expected to beef up further when its Prius v and Prius c hits supply ramp.

Fourth quarter hybrid sales in 2011 grew five percent over 2010.  Annual hybrid sales, however, dropped two percent in 2011 from 2010. Other hybrid vehicles that went on sale in 2011 were the Hyundai Sonata, Honda Insight, and Lexus CT200h. Meanwhile, plug-in vehicles’ December 2011 year-on-sales sales grew by a significant margin over December 2010.

It is to be noted, however, that sales in December 2010 sales started at a very low level. It is to be noted also that that the sales of Mitsubishi i battery electric car was included in the December 2011 figures.  The main reason why sales in December 2011 were significantly higher than December 2010 is because supply of plug-in vehicles was also significantly higher.

Nissan’s LEAF was able to reach the target sales in 2011, but the company expects more from the model this year. Nissan, however, will be forced to take a financial hit to increase sales of the LEAF. The company is expected to have more LEAFs available in 2013 after it commenced production in Tennessee. When it comes to diesel cars, Volkswagen Jetta is the best seller in 2011.

Toyota Prius is by far Toyota’s most recognizable product that features a full hybrid powertrain design. Despite a continued introduction of new models such as the Auris Hybrid and Yaris hybrid into new market segments, the Prius is still pretty much a mainstay in the hybrid industry.

The new Toyota Prius now has a range of updated features including a revised exterior design, an improved interior sensorial quality as well as an enhanced instrumentation, and a whole new range of affordable multimedia and advanced navigation systems such as the Toyota Touch, Toyota Touch & Go. Moreover, it is still the front-runner in terms of technological innovation with each of its generation receiving new, high technology features.

In 2009, the third generation Toyota Prius was introduced to the world that featured a Head-up Display that was capable of projecting information on the base of the windscreen. Such information included the vehicle speed, the Eco Drive Monitor, and the status of the (optional) Pre-Crash Safety and Active Cruise Control systems.

A Touch Tracer display switch is mounted onto the steering wheel to allow the driver to have control over some of the vehicle’s systems which includes the audio system, the air-conditioning, and the ECO Drive Monitor. This allows the driver to have full control over the steering wheel so that if the need arises to adjust the said systems, the driver will not have to look down or take off his or her hands from the steering wheel.

For added safety, Toyota installed a Pre-Crash Safety system into the Prius. It incorporates the Adaptive Cruise Control and uses sensors beneath the front grille to be able to predict possible collisions and trigger a series of intelligent safety features. Pre-tensions seatbelts will be automatically activated along with a Brake Assist alarm; and if collision is inevitable, then an automatic braking is activated. Through this, the possibility of impact and damage due to collision can be lessened.

Topics: hybrid, sales

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