US January sales: electric vehicles also slow down image

Customers who take advantage in December of the tax incentives usually hurt electric vehicles sales in the US at the beginning of the year, but we are sure that lower gas prices, the bad weather and the winter range anxiety also took their toll this year.

General Motors disclosed its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt fell 19.5 % in January to 918, down from 1,140 in the same month last year. The Cadillac brand managed to sell 41 of its new ELR plug-in hybrid, the up-scale version of the Volt.

Toyota, usually the front-runner for this type of vehicle, saw its plug-in Prius sales go down to 803 units (- 8.1%), while Ford said the plug-in C-Max went down 48 % to 1,418 units. Meanwhile Nissan enjoyed a good month for its all-electric Leaf, as its sales nearly doubled in January to 1,252, up 93 % over the 650 sold in 2013.

“The electrified vehicle segment overall has been running at just above 3.5 percent of the industry and that’s really a level we haven’t seen since August 2012,” said Ford’s US sales analyst Erich Merkle. “We’re seeing some real softness in the overall electrified vehicle segment because of … the more affordable gas prices that are out there right now.”

Overall, in 2013 electric vehicle sales (full electric and plug-in) went up 84 % over 2012 to more than 96,000 – the additional sales being triggered mainly by price cuts and the introduction of new models.