TOKYO – Japanese automakers maintained their dominant position in the production and sale of gasoline-electric hybrids and electric cars in 2014, with sales approaching 1.1 million units, a new high.
The Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry reports hybrid production of 1,477,332 units in 2014, up from 1,353,855 the prior year. Industry leader Toyota and No.2 Honda combined to build an estimated 125,000 units at plants outside Japan.
The total excludes hybrids built by Japanese truck makers.
Toyota reported sales of 1,266,070 hybrid units, down 1.0% from 1,279,230 in 2013.
The top-selling Japanese hybrid for the second consecutive year was Toyota’s Prius c, which is sold in Japan as the Aqua. Sales of the compact hybrid totaled 281,870 units, of which 233,210 were sold in the Japanese market. Deliveries fell 11.3% due in part to the effects of a consumption-tax increase that took effect April 1.
Sales of the standard Prius tumbled 23.3% year-over-year to 242,040 units, while the Camry Hybrid was down 14.8% to 71,600. But Fit Hybrid deliveries jumped 51.9% to 119,758 units, while the Auris Hybrid improved 27.8% to 70,620.
The Lexus luxury brand’s top-selling hybrid was the ES300h sedan, registering sales of 36,860 units, up 3.3% year-on-year, followed by the RX450h CUV at 21,100 including 17,650 overseas, and the IS300h at 19,420, including 12,460 outside Japan.
The automaker’s 598,210 overseas hybrid deliveries accounted for 47.2% of its 2014 total.
Toyota produces five hybrid models overseas, including the Auris, Camry, Highlander, Prius and Yaris. In addition, it assembled the RAV4 EV at Toyota Motor Mfg. Canada in 2014.
Other Japanese automakers’ hybrid models registered sales gains.
Honda deliveries climbed more than 50% to 284,293, including 550 plug-in Accord hybrids that run alternatively in all-electric or hybrid mode. Sales outside Japan, excluding plug-in Accords, rose 15.6% on sales of 44,444 units.
Honda produces Civic, Fit, Acura ILX and Acura RLX hybrids outside Japan.
Mitsubishi sold 27,540 Outlander plug-in hybrids, up from 21,140 in 2013, while Subaru manufacturer Fuji Heavy Industries delivered 19,273 XV Hybrids, more than double the previous year’s total.
Mazda delivered 6,716 Mazda3 Hybrids, which went on sale in early 2014 and employ Toyota’s hybrid system and key components including a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack from Toyota subsidiary Primearth.
Nissan does not report its global hybrid-vehicle sales. WardsAuto data, covering only the U.S. market, shows the automaker sold 5,498 Infiniti hybrids in 2014 and 1,978 Nissan Pathfinder SUVs.
South Korean automakers reported mixed results for their hybrid models. Combined Hyundai and Kia sales totaled 68,427 units, up 2.1%.
Hyundai reported 9.1% sales growth to 43,570 units, mostly Sonata Hybrids. Affiliate Kia registered an 8.1% decline to 24,857 units as its main offering, the Optima Hybrid, saw deliveries slump 21.4%.
In the all-electric-vehicle segment, Nissan again was the global leader, reporting sales of 64,694 units, up 35.6%. Included were 61,507 Leafs, up 29% from 47,716 in 2013, and 3,187 e-NV200 trucks that reached the market in June.
Nissan’s alliance partner Renault reported EV sales of 17,813 units, down 6.7% from the 2013 total.
Other automakers selling EVs include Mitsubishi, which delivered 2,392 i-MiEV minicars and Minicab-MiEV vans and trucks; Kia, which sold 1,437 Soul EVs; Toyota 1,184 RAV4s; and Honda, 426 Fit EVs.
In the U.S., Ford sold 1,964 Focus Electric EVs, up from 1,738 in 2013. Ford delivered 84,583 hybrids including 19,983 plug-in units. The automaker’s main hybrid model, the Fusion, registered sales of 35,405 units.
General Motors sold 18,805 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids in the U.S. in 2014, down 18.6%.
Total hybrid sales by GM, including Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal eAssist models, came to 29,148. The automaker also sold 1,146 Spark EVs assembled by GM Korea.
In China, EV sales more than doubled to 45,048 units in 2014 and plug-in hybrid deliveries grew eightfold to 29,715, according to the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers.