Car News

Hybrid sales flopped in 2013

Hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles posted dismal sales results in 2013, proving once again that they won’t succeed without some form of support.

DESPITE ALL THE HOOPLA about alternative fuel sources and options other than petrol, Australian buyers are staying away in droves.

Demand for hybrid vehicles fell 14% to 11,949 in a record sales year where new vehicle sales reached 1.135 million. In 2012, hybrid sales “soared” to almost 14,000.

Most visible among the alternative fuel vehicles is Toyota’s Prius. Prius-C sales were up 24% but other models were down.

SUV vehicle buyers are continuing to show a preference for diesel fuel, with almost 40% choosing it over petrol. However, the trend isn’t being replicated among passenger car buyers with sales of just 6.5%, down from 8% two years ago.

The “forgotten fuel”, LPG is also failing to win converts. Sales of dedicated LPG vehicles fell 18% to just 4704.

But even these poor results pale into insignificance when compared with sales of electric vehicles. In 2012, we bought 253; in 2014 292, (188 Nissan Leafs, 101 Holden Volts and nobody’s saying what the other three were). Taking into account the hype and blizzard of publicity, these are pathetic results.

These results are even worse when you take into account that two thirds of electric vehicles were bought by fleet buyers (and probably very few company fleets at that) so fewer than 100 people were willing to use their own money to go electric.

Tell us what you think … why aren’t hybrid cars getting traction (pardon the pun) in Australia?


  1. sean t
    October 6, 2014 at 11:55 pm — Reply

    why aren’t hybrid cars getting traction (pardon the pun) in Australia?
    – a bunch of climate change deniers
    – no incentive to buy, for example there’s a tax break in the USA for buying a hybrid, being allowed to drive the transit lane, etc
    – being petrol heads

    • October 7, 2014 at 6:19 am — Reply

      That’s a tough question, Sean. I’m sure the government could ‘help’ inner-city drivers transition from gas guzzlers and onto hybrids and all-electric cars. Indeed, incentives would be a great idea and so would a congestion charge. The other problem, I think, is that the new-generation of petrol and diesel engines are so efficient when it comes to fuel consumption that punters seem to look past the environmental benefits of less tail-pipe emissions. Australia is a fair way behind other developed countries when it comes to climate change and this lack of encouragement is just another example of that … that said, with local manufacturing finishing from 2016 there might be an opportunity to incentivise cleaner vehicles. We’ll have to wait and see. Cheers, Isaac (editor).

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober