PHOTO CAPTION: Plug-In car sales in 2012 tripled.

2012 Plug In Car Sales Up 228 Percent

Not only is overall fleet fuel economy on the rise, but 2012 saw a 55 percent increase in hybrid sales, and more than a three-fold increase in plug-in electric car sales.

Published: 01-Nov-2012

Automakers operate on a different calendar, in which the 2012 model year recently came to a close. As my colleague, Luke Tonachel, explains, this was the year of the green car, with record new fleet fuel efficiency, a 55 percent increase in hybrid sales, and more than a three-fold increase in plug-in electric car sales. The last of those three records might come as a surprise to some, given the prevalence of stories pronouncing the electric car dead on arrival. While it’s true that plug-in electric car sales still represent a very small fraction of total auto sales, model year 2012 saw about 38,000 Americans buying plug-in cars.* That’s a 228 percent increase over model year 2011.* Not bad for a new technology, introduced as the country recovers from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Critics often point out that plug-in electric car sales pale in comparison to incumbents such as the Ford F-series, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry, but almost all vehicles fall short by that measure. Auto sales are lopsided; of the 265 vehicle models currently available, the top 20 comprise over 40 percent of all new sales. The Chevy Volt, often described by critics as a failure, falls right in the middle of the pack, outselling half the cars, trucks, and SUVs on the market. It may not be a smash hit, but it’s certainly not a flop as some would have you believe. In fact, the Volt is outselling many well-known models, including:

Mazda: Miata, CX-7, Tribute, RX-8, 2, and 5
Mercedes: S-Class, CL-Class, CLS-Class, SLK, SLS AMG, R-Class, G-Class, B-Class, and SL-Class
Land Rover: LR2, LR4, and Range Rover
Audi: A3, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q7, R8, and TT
Lexus: GS, GX460, LX570, CT200h, HS250h, LFA, SC430, and LS
BMW: Z4, X6, 1-Series, 6-Series, and 7-Series
Nissan: 370Z, Quest, Cube, GT-R, Xterra, Titan, and Armada
Porsche: Boxster, Panamera, Cayman, Cayenne, and 911
Chevrolet: Caprice, HHR, Cobalt, and Corvette



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