U.S. Plug-in Sales for November 2012: Heated Competition, Prius Plug-in Takes the Lead

Toyota Prius Plug-in PHEV© Toyota

#1 Prius PHEV, #2 LEAF, #3 Volt

Another month in the rearview mirror, another opportunity to track how well (or badly) plug-in cars are doing in the US. The sales numbers for November represent a complete shake-up in the top 3 spots, with the Toyota Prius Plug-in bumping the Chevrolet Volt from the #1 position, and the Nissan LEAF beating the Volt by barely 20 units to secure the second position, relegating the GM plug-in to third. I think it's a good sign to see models move around and sell similar amounts; it probably means that they are competitive with each other, which should mean that the rate of improvement on each model will be faster than if there's a clear winner that leaves everybody else in the dust, and then can rest on its laurels (ie. the Prius hybrid might have improved faster over the past decade if the competition had been stronger).

Numbers, Numbers

Here's how sales break out exactly:

Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid: November sales were 1,766 units, compared to 1,889 units in October.

Nissan LEAF electric car: November sales were 1,539 units, compared to 1,579 units in October.

Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid: November sales were 1,519 units, compared to 2,961 units in October.

Don't worry too much about the sequential decline in sales. Cars are seasonal. the year-on-year numbers are up 129% for the Volt and 33% for the LEAF, and the Prius PHEV wasn't on sale at this time last year.

One model that will soon be added to those stats is the Ford C-MAX Energi PHEV. It's a very attractive offering, and it'll be interesting to see if it sells well.


See also: 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Gets EPA Rating of 115 MPGe, Going on Sale in January 2013

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