Hybrids, PHEVs make up record sales share

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids accounted for a record 11% of U.S. car sales in the first quarter, reports Automotive News, citing data from Cox Automotive.

Sales of hybrids more than doubled in Q1 compared to a year earlier, the Cox data showed, while plug-in hybrid sales rose 59% in the quarter. Owner loyalty was also strong, with 42% of hybrid owners returning to the market in Q1 purchasing another hybrid or plug-in hybrid, according to S&P Global Mobility data also cited by Automotive News. That marks the seventh consecutive quarter that hybrid-owner loyalty has increased.

2024 Kia Sportage

2024 Kia Sportage

Automotive News also reports, again based on data from Cox Automotive, that EV sales stayed relatively flat in Q1. EVs had 7.2% market share, compared to 7.3% in Q1 of 2023.

The report attributes some of the disparity in hybrid versus EV sales momentum to cost, noting that while some hybrids are priced below $30,000, average EV transaction prices were $57,000 in May 2024. And, according to Cox, average prices have actually decreased recently, helped by increased discounts.

2024 Toyota Prius

2024 Toyota Prius

A consumer poll published in June also found that price is keeping many Americans away from EVs. And a J.D. Power study published in May also showed that concerns over new EV costs were among the main reasons for waning consideration of EV purchases. But the surge in hybrid and plug-in hybrid sales at least indicates that consumers are prioritizing lower emissions.

In addition to lower costs, conventional hybrids may also offer a less-complicated owner experience. Multiple studies, including one from J.D. Power last month, have shown higher rates of owner-reported problems with EVs, but often related to tech features, not EV powertrains themselves.

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