Small-Vehicle Demand Bolsters September U.S. Sales

Consumers continued to replace their aging cars and trucks with more fuel-efficient new models in September—especially since higher gasoline prices* helped prime demand for sub-compact or compact new vehicles with smaller engines and even alternative powertrains, in particular hybrids. In addition, discounts on outgoing 2012 models plus excitement about new and redesigned models helped boost sales by nearly 13% from the same month last year.**

Total U.S. new-vehicle sales in September reached 1.187 million units, which translated to a relatively strong 14.9 million-unit seasonally adjusted selling rate (SAAR), according to J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. September’s sales pace was significantly stronger than last year’s 13.1 million-unit SAAR. Continue reading ›

Sales of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Models Surge

Two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) performed well in August and during the first 8 months of 2012, while the pure electric vehicles have lost some of their first glow, according to transaction data and analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. In August, Toyota announced strong deliveries for its new Prius plug-in hybrid model, while Chevrolet Volt deliveries have recently gotten a boost. Sales have been a little  lackluster for the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i EVs. Highlights:

• After its first 6 months on the market, the Prius plug-in model (PHEV), which offers a standard 50 mpg-EPA rated Prius hybrid powertrain with extended electric vehicle (EV) driving, tallied more than 6,000 unit sales. Continue reading ›

Hybrid and EV Sales Charge Ahead in U.S. Market

In August, buyers bought and leased more than twice as many new vehicles with alternative powertrains as they did a year ago, according to transaction data and analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Sales of five hybrid/electric models—including the Toyota Prius hatchback hybrid—and two plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs)—including the Chevy Volt—more than doubled to 25,005 unit sales vs. 12,116 a year ago. Through the first 8 months of 2012, four brands offering six models—Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda  and Mitsubishi—delivered 187,324 vehicles with alternative hybrid/electric, extended-range electric, and pure electric powertrains, which was a surge of 76% from the same period in 2011 (106,364 unit sales). Continue reading ›

Utility Customers Weigh In on Owning an EV

Jeff Conklin

Nearly every major automaker plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV) during the next 3 years, according to J.D. Power research. During the remainder of 2011 through 2014, consumers can expect to see as many as 16 new vehicle models with alternative powertrains launched in the US market, according to analysis in Charging Forward with Electric Vehicles: A Primer for Electric Utilities, a J.D. Power special report that features national and regional analysis about EV owners and intenders who are electric utility customers. A few EV trends from the report, which is based on several of our J.D. Power studies*and analysis, are highlighted:

• Through this fall, five more BEVs, in addition to the Nissan Leaf, will be introduced in the US market.

• J.D. Power finds that nearly one-third of US utility customers say they “definitely would” or “probably would” be interested in buying or leasing a PHEV for their next new car or truck.More than one-fourth of these utility customers are interested in considering a BEV. Continue reading ›

Economic Factors Shape Consumer Attitudes on Green Vehicles

Christopher Malott

When asked to consider a hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), clean diesel engine or battery electric vehicle (BEV) for their next new-vehicle purchase, a large proportion of consumers express interest in at least one of these options.

While vehicle price remains a primary concern impeding consideration of these powertrains, the ability to save money on fuel costs through improved economy is the most often cited benefit of ownership, according to the  J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Green Automotive Study.SM

However, even though the financial benefits relating to fueling are recognized by these consumers, oftentimes the upfront price premium of an alternative powertrain option is too high to overcome. Price, in fact, may become a more prominent concern for consumers considering HEVs and clean diesel engines, since tax credits from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 were phased out at the end of 2010. Continue reading ›

Powertrain Choices are Touted at Detroit Auto Show

Mike Omotoso, senior manager, global powertrain, Automotive Forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, attended OEM press briefings and reviewed some of the products and concepts that are on display at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, MI (the show is open to the public Saturday, Jan. 15 through Sunday, Jan. . . . Continue Reading Powertrain Choices are Touted at Detroit Auto Show

Ford to Offer Focus with Green Powertrain Options

Ford Motor Company recently reopened its assembly plant in Wayne, MI (about the size of 22 football fields), to produce the new 2012 Ford Focus compact conventional model that will go on sale in early 2011. In addition, three electric versions of the Focus will be assembled at the plant—a battery-powered version (BEV) to . . . Continue Reading Ford to Offer Focus with Green Powertrain Options

Creating a “New Energy Vehicle” Future for China

China wants to have as many as 20 million clean, fuel-efficient “New Energy Vehicles” (NEVs) on the country’s roads by 2020, according to a recently published Chinese media report. If the goal is realized, NEVs would account for some 10% of the nearly 200 million light vehicles projected to be on China’s roads in . . . Continue Reading Creating a “New Energy Vehicle” Future for China