It ain’t easy being green: Hybrid, electric cars traded for SUVs

Even though it was Kermit the Frog who sang “it ain’t easy being green,” it appears that eco-friendly car owners are ditching their hybrid and electric vehicles for SUVs at a higher rate than ever before, according to Edmunds.com.

Not surprisingly, financial matters seem to figure into the motives, according to  Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com’s Director of Industry Analysis. “For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment.”

The analysis offers a surprising look at how today’s gas prices are drawing hybrid and EV owners toward gas-guzzling vehicles at a much more accelerated pace than in recent years.

According to Edmunds.com, about 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago. Overall, only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.

“Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today’s gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn’t make a very compelling case,” Caldwell said.

To underscore the point, Edmunds calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today’s national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same gap.

Edmunds’ analysis comes at a time when overall sales of alternative vehicles have continued to slide. EVs and hybrids accounted for just 2.7 percent of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2015, down from 3.3 percent during that same period last year. The share of SUVs, meanwhile, has increased from 31.8 percent in Q1 2014 to 34.2 percent in Q1 2015.

Shoppers who want to learn more about hybrid and electric vehicles on today’s new and used market are encouraged to visit Edmunds.com at http://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/. Shoppers can also calculate “breakeven” times using Edmunds’ Gas Guzzler Calculator at http://www.edmunds.com/calculators/gas-guzzler.html?sv.

 

 

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Winter storms didn’t freeze car sales: edmunds.com

Car Sales Rose in February Despite Higher Gas Prices and Winter Storms, says Edmunds.com

SANTA MONICA, Calif. Edmunds.com forecasts that 1,285,019 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in February for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 16.6 million. The projected sales will be an 11.8 percent increase from January 2015, and a 7.9 percent increase from February 2014.

 “Gas prices inched back up this month, but it didn’t appear to have much impact on shoppers’ choices. We’re still seeing a strong market for trucks and SUVs — especially compact crossover SUVs, which continue to ride an impressive wave of popularity.,” said Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “It is likely that the hard-hitting winter weather motivated some buyers to upgrade from their two-wheel drive vehicles.”
SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Sales Volume February 2015 Forecast February 2014 January 2015 Change from February 2014 Change from January 2015
GM 230,019 222,104 202,786 3.6% 13.4%
Ford 192,866 183,349 177,441 5.2% 8.7%
Toyota 184,841 159,284 169,194 16.0% 9.2%
Chrysler Group 167,613 154,866 145,007 8.2% 15.6%
Nissan 123,664 115,360 104,107 7.2% 18.8%
Honda 111,780 100,405 102,134 11.3% 9.4%
Hyundai/Kia 97,507 90,221 82,804 8.1% 17.8%
VW/Audi 37,155 37,993 34,864 -2.2% 6.6%
Industry 1,285,019 1,191,083 1,149,037 7.9% 11.8%

*NOTE: February 2015 had 24 selling days, February 2014 had 24 and January 2015 had 26.

Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.4 million vehicles in February, with fleet transactions accounting for 19.3 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.2 million used cars will be sold in February, for a SAAR of 35.7 million (compared to 2.95 million – or a SAAR of 36.3 million – used car sales in January).


MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Market Share February 2015 Forecast February 2014 January 2015 Change from February 2014 Change from January 2015
GM 17.9% 18.6% 17.6% -0.7% 0.3%
Ford 15.0% 15.4% 15.4% -0.4% -0.4%
Toyota 14.4% 13.4% 14.7% 1.0% -0.3%
Chrysler Group 13.0% 13.0% 12.6% 0.0% 0.4%
Nissan 9.6% 9.7% 9.1% -0.1% 0.6%
Honda 8.7% 8.4% 8.9% 0.3% -0.2%
Hyundai/Kia 7.6% 7.6% 7.2% 0.0% 0.4%
VW/Audi 2.9% 3.2% 3.0% -0.3% -0.1%

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in Edmunds.com’s Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

 

Edmunds.com: Gov’t shutdown didn’t stall October auto sales

press release from edmunds.com

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — October 24, 2013 — Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information, forecasts that 1,229,860 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in October for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 15.5 millionThe projected sales will be an 8.2 percent increase from September 2013, and a 12.7 percent increase from October 2012.

The overall sales projections suggest that the government shutdown earlier this month had minimal effect on auto sales. But, says Edmunds.com, a longer shutdown could have left an ugly mark on what has been otherwise a glowing year for the automotive industry.

“It looks like the government shutdown ended just in the nick of time,” says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “The week-by-week data suggests that consumers started to get jittery by the middle of the month. But with the government back to work, most lost sales should be made up in the latter half of the month, and the industry’s momentum will continue the pace it enjoyed before the disruption in Washington.”

SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Sales Volume

Oct-13 Forecast

Oct-12

Sep-13

Change from Oct 2012*

Change from Sep 2013*

GM

215,274

195,764

187,195

10.0%

15.0%

Ford

193,988

167,947

184,452

15.5%

5.2%

Toyota

178,828

155,242

164,457

15.2%

8.7%

Chrysler Group

139,848

126,185

143,017

10.8%

-2.2%

Honda

120,484

106,973

105,563

12.6%

14.1%

Hyundai/Kia

95,786

92,723

93,105

3.3%

2.9%

Nissan

94,492

79,685

86,868

18.6%

8.8%

VW/Audi

46,798

46,019

44,985

1.7%

4.0%

Industry

1,229,860

1,091,546

1,136,218

12.7%

8.2%

*NOTE: Oct. 2013 had 27 selling days, Oct. 2012 had 26 and Sept. 2013 had 23.

Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.0 million vehicles in October, with fleet transactions accounting for 16.0 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.06 million used cars will be sold in October, for a SAAR of 35.6 million (compared to 3.02 million – or a SAAR of 36.3 million – used car sales in September).

AUTOMAKER PERFORMANCE

While most major automakers are expected to easily clear September’s sales totals, Edmunds.com projects that Chrysler sales will fall 2.2 percent month to month. As a result, Edmunds.com expects that the company’s market share will recede 1.2 percentage points in October, just one month after it hit its highest share in over five years.

MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Market Share

Oct-13 Forecast

Oct-12

Sep-13

Change from
October 2012
(Percentage pts.)

Change from September 2013
(Percentage pts.)

GM

17.5%

17.9%

16.5%

-0.4%

1.0%

Ford

15.8%

15.4%

16.2%

0.4%

-0.5%

Toyota

14.5%

14.2%

14.5%

0.3%

0.1%

Chrysler Group

11.4%

11.6%

12.6%

-0.2%

-1.2%

Honda

9.8%

9.8%

9.3%

0.0%

0.5%

Hyundai/Kia

7.8%

8.5%

8.2%

-0.7%

-0.4%

Nissan

7.7%

7.3%

7.6%

0.4%

0.0%

VW/Audi

3.8%

4.2%

4.0%

-0.4%

-0.2%

General Motors, meanwhile, is expected to create a little breathing room at the top of the sales standings. Edmunds.com projects that GM sales will increase 15 percent from September to October, outpacing top rival Ford’s growth of 5.2 percent. In September, Ford finished within almost 3,000 sales of GM’s total, and nearly claimed its first head-to-head victory since March 2011.

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in Edmunds.com’s Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

Edmunds.com’s Jessica Caldwell on GM, Subaru sales

GENERAL MOTORS
From Edmunds.com Sr. Analyst Jessica Caldwell: “Timing can be everything and GM is a great example in the truck market. GM has a nice sales blend of 2013 and all-new 2014 trucks that appeals to both low and high-end shoppers. And because there is so much pent up demand in this segment, we’re in the midst of a profitable time period for GM.”

SUBARU
From Edmunds.com Sr. Analyst Jessica Caldwell: “Subaru has been riding a nice wave of success for quite some time now. Americans have been responding to their products; not only are Forester’s sales are up over 50% but it was also the quickest selling car in the country last month with a days-to-turn rate of 15 days. That’s 46 days less than the industry average.”