Hybrid Vehicles to Top Out At Three Percent of Market

February 07, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Despite the growing popularity of hybrid vehicles and a slew of new models scheduled in the next few years, the market share for the fuel-saving vehicles is expected to peak at about 3% by 2010, according to a new study from the forecasting arm of J.D. Power and Associates.

Roughly 88,000 hybrids were sold in the US in 2004, accounting for about one-half of 1% of total vehicle sales. This year, with the number of hybrids expected to increase from eight to 11, J.D. Power-LMC Automotive Forecasting Services predicts sales to grow to 200,000, or about 1.2% of the market. J.D. Power-LMC expects the number of models to expand to 38 by 2011 -- 17 cars and 21 trucks and sport utility vehicles, but that sales will plateau that year at about 535,000, or roughly 3% of the US market.

The plateau is related primarily to the price premium of $3,000 to $4,000 consumers must pay for a hybrid vehicle, compared with a comparable non-hybrid. Another factor will be competing technologies such as more fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel options that will be available after 2006.