Auto sales, including plug-ins, freeze up in January

Model S Leaf Volt

After a stellar 2013, overall auto sales took a big dip in January, and plug-ins were no exception to the trend. Auto sales slid 3% as snow and ice kept people away from dealerships.

Total plug-in sales were little more than half of December’s (but still more than in January 2013). The LEAF was firmly in the lead with 1,252 units, almost double January 2013 sales. Nissan told InsideEVs that battery supply issues have now been sorted out, so once the winter slump is over, monthly sales figures should start to more accurately reflect demand.

It was an embarrassing month for the Chevy Volt – sales of 918 cars are at a two-year low. Is this a sign of waning demand (the Volt’s 2013 sales failed to better its 2012 figures) or only of distribution bottlenecks (national inventories of the 2014 Volt are very low, following a two-week holiday production pause)?

The Toyota Prius Plug-In had a more respectable month, with 803 units sold, only a slight decline from December (919), but far short of the PPI’s all-time monthly record in October 2013 (2,095).

Tesla doesn’t release monthly sales figures, and it shifts production back and forth between US-bound and Europe-bound vehicles, so InsideEVs’ estimate of 800 Model S sold in January is just that – a rough estimate. Tesla’s quarterly report for Q4 2013 is due in mid-February.

Ford’s plug-ins made a decent showing – sales for the Fusion Energi (553), C-MAX Energi (471) and Focus Electric (100) were down from December, but not disastrously so.

Jumping into the #7 spot, the Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid was the only plug-in to post an increase in sales this month. It sold 141 units in its fourth month on the market. 

The Cadillac ELR came out of the gate moving 41 units in its first full month of sales. Not massive, but respectable for a luxury vehicle that GM has always said would be a low-volume model.

 

Source: InsideEVs