Hybrid Sales Soar While Trucks Tumble in California

While sales of hybrids and fuel-efficient cars are booming, slumping demand for large SUVs has destabilized Detroit automakers throughout 2006 with Ford losing $1.19 billion in the first quarter and GM losing $323 million.

Published: 05-May-2006

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sales of fuel-efficient hybrid autos are up, big sport-utility vehicle sales are down and Northern Californians are part of a steamrolling national trend to find vehicles that will cause them less fiscal pain at gas pumps.

As gasoline prices continued soaring to record highs in the Golden State and nationwide, automotive data analyst R.L. Polk & Co. disclosed Wednesday that U.S. hybrid vehicle sales more than doubled last year, although they still only comprise slightly more than 1 percent of U.S. vehicle sales.

That came on the heels of Tuesday's release of U.S. auto sales data for April, when consumers turned away from SUVs and other light trucks in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and gas-electric hybrids.

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