TOKYO – Japanese and South Korean automakers have seen their hybrid business backtrack so far this year.
Still ranking as the world’s leaders, Japanese and Korean brands nevertheless registered a 10% decline in hybrid sales between January and June to an estimated 805,000 units. Of the total, 95% – about 770,000 units – were Japanese.
Hybrid production in Japan declined 29% year-on-year to 550,181 units, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry data.
Toyota again was the market leader on sales of 606,530 hybrid cars, down 9% from 665,740 between January and June 2014.
Toyota produces 30 hybrid models including nine sold under the Lexus brand and excluding trucks. About 40% of Toyota hybrid sales were outside Japan.
The Prius c, which is sold in Japan as the Aqua, was Toyota’s top-selling hybrid. Sales totaled 143,810 units, down from 148,250 in first-half 2014. Next were the Prius, with 100,619 deliveries; Prius v (52,030); the France-built Yaris Hybrid (36,680); and U.K.-built Auris Hybrid (35,400). The automaker sold only 4,370 plug-in hybrid Priuses.
Toyota sold 71,290 Lexus hybrids from January through June. The CT200h was the luxury brand’s top-selling hybrid on sales of 19,950 units, mostly overseas.
Honda, ranked No.2 in global hybrid sales, sold 125,370 units during the period, down 21% from the prior year. By market, Japan accounted for 82% of sales.
All major Honda models registered declines, notably the Fit Hybrid, the automaker’s best-seller, from 74,717 to 38,821. Accord Hybrid deliveries fell to 9,108 units from 12,553 in first-half 2014. Included were 100 Accord PHEVs, down from 258 in January-June 2014. The automaker sold only three Fit all-electric vehicles.
Nissan does not report hybrid sales, but WardsAuto data shows the automaker reported U.S. deliveries of 1,049 Pathfinder Hybrids, 1,632 Q50 Infiniti and 1,421 Infiniti QX60 hybrids.
Nissan remained the global EV leader, selling 24,941 Leafs and 2,865 eNV200 vans.
Mitsubishi sold 17,743 Outlander PHEVs in the first half, making it the best-selling model in the segment. The overseas market, primarily Europe, accounted for 84% of sales. The automaker also sold 2,981 EVs in its MiEV series including the i and Minicab minivehicles.
Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru cars, sold 5,165 XV hybrids, down from 12,941 in January-June 2014. Included in the total were 3,434 units sold in the U.S. and Canada.
(The auto maker launched the Impreza Sport Hybrid in the Japanese market on July 10.)
Mazda sold 1,409 Axela Hybrids, down from 4,600 last year.
Of South Korea’s leading automakers, Hyundai reported hybrid sales of 24,845 units in first-half 2015, including 19,654 Sonata models. It sold 12,800 Sonata Hybrids overseas and 12,045 Sonata and Grandeur hybrids in South Korea.
Separately, Hyundai has delivered 359 ix35 fuel-cell vehicles to date.
Kia reported 9,112 deliveries from January through June including 7,732 Optima Hybrids. Some 5,725 Optima deliveries were in North America and another 1,641 were sold in South Korea, where it is badged K5. Kia also sold 2,446 Soul EVs during the period including 1,410 in Europe and 539 in North America.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported sharp growth in EV and PHEV production and sales between January and June. EV builds jumped to 49,042, a fourfold increase from 12,185 in January-June 2014, while PHEV output more than tripled from 8,507 units to 27,181. Chinese sales basically mirrored the growth in production. Automakers sold 46,219 EVs and 26,492 PHEVs in the first half, up from 11,777 and 8,700, respectively, in like-2014.