Hybrids Continue Sales Growth

According to data from Wards Intelligence, reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales were 12.9 percent of total sales of new light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in 2022.

In 2023, sales rose to 16.3 percent, and the three types of vehicles reached their highest share of total LDV sales in the second half of 2023, at 17.9 percent.

“The full-year share of total U.S. LDV sales for hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and BEVs rose as the number of BEV model options increased, hybrid vehicles were offered in more popular size classes, and BEV prices declined,” said the EIA in its report.

Manufacturer price cuts, as well as the “Clean Vehicle Credit” and “Qualified Commercial Vehicle Credit” from the Inflation Reduction Act, also reduced the cost of BEVs. According to the EIA, sales increased despite a semiconductor chip shortage, which persisted through much of 2023 and likely affected the quantity and mix of vehicles that manufacturers could produce.

The report went on to note that the number of hybrid model offerings declined in 2023, but sales increased significantly across existing models. “In addition, manufacturers offered more hybrid crossover options and fewer car options, thereby increasing hybrid availability within the most popular vehicle market segment (crossovers) and decreasing it within the least popular vehicle market segment (cars),” said the EIA.

Manufacturers added 20 new BEV models during 2023 (mostly in the second half) for a total of 70 BEV models at year-end, out of 459 unique LDV models. Half of the new BEV models were crossover vehicles, a market segment that has more than doubled its share of total LDV sales since 2014. The average transaction price for BEVs fell to $50,798 in December 2023, bringing the price 24.2 percent lower than at the price peak in the second quarter of 2022..

“One additional market dynamic that likely influenced BEV sales in 2023 was the increase in the luxury vehicle market share after the pandemic,” said the EIA report. “Wards uses criteria based on price, body style, and size to segment nameplates into luxury and non-luxury.”

Among all LDV sales, luxury vehicle sales surpassed their 2019 level in 2021, but non-luxury sales have remained 13 percent below their 2019 level. BEV sales continue to be concentrated in this luxury category, growing to 31.3 percent of the total luxury vehicle market in 2023 and 1.7 percent of the non-luxury vehicle market.

Vehicle sales classified as luxury made up 80.0 percent of BEV sales and 13.3 percent of non-hybrid gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicle sales. “This percentage aligns with the current slate of BEV models offered by manufacturers: 61% are classified as luxury vehicles by Wards Intelligence,” said the EIA report.


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