Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What Hybrids And Electric Cars Are Selling In The U.S.

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

a thorough look at Japan on Monday, here I am again, annoying you with ever more worldwide car sale figures. This time let’s get back to basics and look at the best-selling hybrid/electric cars in the USA, a category up 75 percent year-on-year…

Can’t get your head around why you would buy cars that run on batteries? That’s ok, you can discover the best-selling models in 168 countries and territories in my blog and you’ll see most of them still are good old gas-guzzlers. Or today I can also offer you the Top 277 best-selling models in the USA over the first 9 months 2012

Sales of Hybrid and Electric cars in the USA are up 75 percent year-on-year in September to 39,974 registrations, which brings the year-to-date total to 351,703 units, up 73 percent on 2011 and now reaching a 3.2 percent share of the total market. In other words, if all Hybrid and Electric car sales were one model it would rank #2 behind only the Ford F-Series…

Toyota/Lexus holds a huge 67 percent market share in this segment…

The Toyota Prius Hybrid leads the way by far with 13,914 sales, followed by the Toyota Camry hybrid up a huge 1517 percent year-on-year to 3,704 units, the Toyota Prius C at 3,366 sales and the Chevrolet Volt up 294 percent on September 2011 to 2,851 units.

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is up to #7 with 1,656 sales or a 15 percent Hybrid ratio (vs. 7 percent year-to-date), ahead of the Toyota Prius Plug-in up to 1,652 units.

Top 10 best-selling Hybrid/Electric cars in the USA in September 2012:

You can check out the entire Top 43 best-sellers here

PosModelSep-12HR/119m 2012Pos20111Toyota Prius13,914100%49%149,510112Toyota Camry Hybrid3,70411%1517%34,2912103Toyota Prius c3,366100%new26,1103 –4Chevrolet Volt2,851100%294%16,3484125Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid1,65615%new12,9767336Toyota Prius Plug-in1,652100%new7,72012 –7Hyundai Sonata Hybrid1,5609%-22%15,781528Lexus ES300h1,41422%new2,23119 –9Lexus CT200h1,195100%-17%13,6126510Nissan LEAF984100%-5%5,212149

HR= Hybrid/Electric Ratio. Sales of the hybrid/electric version vs. overall sales of the model.

/11: Sales variation compared to September 2011. Pos: 2012 year-to-date ranking after 9 months. 2011: Full Year 2011 ranking.

1 in 4 Lexus ES sold in the US this month are a hybrid

The Lexus ES300h delivers the performance of the month: it lodges 1,414 sales or 63 percent of its 2012 total, making it nearly one in four ES sold this month in the country (22 percent Hybrid ratio vs. 6 percent year-to-date!). The Lexus CT200h is down to #9 while the Nissan Leaf seems to have slowed down its decline at just -5 percent year-on-year and up 4 spots on its year-to-date ranking to

Nearly 1 in 3 Lincoln MKZ sold in the US this month is a hybrid

The Lincoln MKZ delivers the highest Hybrid ratio of all traditional models: 30 percent thanks to 781 units sold at

The Buick Regal eAssist follows at 25 percent Hybrid ratio and #17 while the Lexus GS450h is up 294 percent to #22 and the Porsche Panamera reaches an exceptional 14 percent Hybrid ratio.

There are no less than 3 newcomers in the ranking this month: the Toyota RAV4 EV lands #26 with 61 sales, the Audi Q5 Hybrid is #31 at 25 units and the BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid is #37 with 13 sales.

You can check out the August 2012 Hybrid/Electric cars Top 40 ranking here

You can check out the general US September 2012 Top 265 ranking here

You can check out the general US 9 months 2012 Top 277 ranking here

Full September 2012 Top 43 Ranking Table below.

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6 of 36 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 13, 2012

    Volt I guess is the most attractive of them. First it does not consume gas, second there is no range anxiety, third I heard about attractive $300 per month lease. If it is true then you are driving it for free - savings from saved gas alone will pay lease. And most important it is based on Opel Astra platform which far more superior than Corolla or whatever Nissan can come up with.

    • See 3 previous
    • Rudiger Rudiger on Oct 14, 2012

      @SCE to AUX While it's probably true that the Focus Electric is a better EV than the Leaf, one area where the Leaf bests the FE (and probably the MiEV and RAV4 EV, too) is price. There are currently some terrific deals on the Leaf in certain states. I think gslippy said in a previous post he was able to get his Leaf in PA for under $20k after tax credits. That's nothing to sneeze at and, for that price, makes the Leaf a legitimate contender for a second commuter car that better fits an EV's limitations. For under $20k, the Leaf will start being cross-shopped against, say, the popular Prius c. The same is true of upwardly trending Volt sales. With incentives and tax credits, the Volt's price is now not that far from the standard Prius. Plus, the FE is not even available nationwide yet.

  • Angus McClure Angus McClure on Oct 14, 2012

    I'm glad to see the day get here when electric cars or hybrids get so much attention. A guy did one homemade with an opel GT in the late seventies (crude but it worked) so it was a matter of time. I don't think the problem is so much about the readiness of the industry but about the readiness to buy on the part of the public. The volt probably had the ideal setup but I think the prudent owner would run the engine from time to time to keep things in working order. That and stabil or some other gas life extender should keep things going for years. You have to wonder if one of those million dollar contests would have been as effective as massive government aid. The profit motive, if the government would stay out of the mix, might work better than subsidies.

  • Fahrvergnugen NA Miata goes topless as long as roads are dry and heater is running, windscreen in place.
  • Fred Private equity is only concerned with making money. Not in content. The only way to deal with it, is to choose your sites wisely. Even that doesn't work out. Just look at AM/FM radio for a failing business model that is dominated by a few large corporations.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Lots of dynamics here:[list][*]people are creatures of habit, they will stick with one or two web sites, one or two magazines, etc; and will only look at something different if recommended by others[/*][*]Generation Y & Z is not "car crazy" like Baby Boomers. We saw a car as freedom and still do. Today, most youth text or face call, and are focused on their cell phone. Some don't even leave the house with virtual learning[/*][*]New car/truck introductions are passé; COVID knocked a hole in car shows; spectacular vehicle introductions are history.[/*][*]I was in the market for a replacement vehicle, but got scared off by the current used and new prices. I'll wait another 12 to 18 months. By that time, the car I was interested in will be obsolete or no longer available. Therefore, no reason to research till the market calms down. [/*][*]the number of auto related web sites has ballooned in the last 10 to 15 years. However, there are a diminishing number of taps on their servers as the Baby Boomers and Gen X fall off the radar scope. [/*][/list]Based on the above, the whole auto publishing industry (magazine, web sites, catalogs, brochures, etc) is taking a hit. The loss of editors and writers is apparent in all of publishing. This is structural, no way around it.
  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.
  • Dukeisduke I subscribed to both Road & Track and Car and Driver for over 25 years, but it's been close to 20 years since I dropped both. I tried their digital versions with their reader software (can't remember the name now), but it wasn't the same. I let it lapse after a year.From what I've seen of R&T's print version, it's turned into more of a lifestyle thing like The Robb Report. I haven't seen an issue of C/D in a while.I enjoyed both magazines a lot when I was subscribing. R&T for the road tests (especially the April Fools road tests), used car reviews, historical articles, and columns like Peter Egan's Side Glances and Dennis Simanitis's Technical Correspondence. And C/D for the road tests and pithy commentary, and columns like Gordon Baxter's, and Jean Shepherd's (that goes way back to the early '70s).