Detroit — June’s weak vehicle sales were more bad news for the president’s Magical Summer Stimulus Recovery Tour. But they were also bad news for Greens — as sales of hybrids tanked, slipping under 2 percent of market share and well below their 3-percent-of-market high in the $4-gas summer of 2008.
Even conservative industry analysts like J. D. Power had predicted three years ago that a 5 percent hybrid market share by 2010 (one top analyst predicted 17 percent of market by this year!), but the latest figures are a further indication that hybrids are a small-vehicle niche and call into question Washington’s decision to pour hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into hybrid and electric-vehicle production. Hybrid models across the board were in free fall — even the iconic Prius.
Meanwhile the dreaded SUV continues to rebound — now totaling 49 percent of sales to 51 percent for cars. The result is good news for Detroit’s bottom line (trucks are more profitable than cars) even as auto execs publicly — and perversely — sing the praises of the small cars Washington wants.