U.S. alt-fuel vehicle sales for December showed mixed results relative to a year earlier, as gains by Toyota and Nissan were offset by lagging sales from Honda and Ford. For the year, hybrid vehicle sales by Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda were hampered by supply issues stemming from the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan last March, which also likely pulled down overall 2011 numbers.

Toyota Motor Co., the world's largest maker of hybrids, sold 23,172 Toyota and Lexus hybrids in December, up 13 percent from a year earlier. Toyota Prius sales were up 8.7 percent, while the launch of the redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid pushed that model's sales up 46 percent. Toyota also benefited from last year's debut of the Lexus CT 200h hatchback, which added 2,259 vehicle sales last month.

December alt-fuel sales also benefited from more demand for battery-electric and extended-range plug-in vehicles.

December alt-fuel sales also benefited from more demand for battery-electric and extended-range plug-in vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and General Motors' Chevrolet Volt, both of which debuted with relatively small numbers in December 2010. A year later, GM sold a monthly record 1,529 Volts, up from 326 a year earlier, while Nissan sold 954 Leafs, up from just 19 vehicles 12 months prior. And Mitsubishi marked its first full month of sales for its i electric vehicle with 76 vehicles sold.

Such gains were offset by lagging hybrid sales from Honda and Ford. Honda's hybrid sales in December plunged 47 percent from a year earlier to 1,819 vehicles, as all three of Honda's hybrids – the Civic Hybrid, the CR-Z and the Insight – had year-over-year sales declines of at least 36 percent. Insight sales were down 58 percent.

Meanwhile, Ford, which has been pushing its gas-powered vehicles that get at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway, also had December sales declines for its hybrids. Ford Fusion Hybrid sales dropped 40 percent and more than offset higher sales by the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKZ Hybrids. Overall, the U.S. automaker's hybrid sales fell 24 percent from a year earlier to 2,402 vehicles.

Adding slightly to the December alt-fuel total was Volkswagen, which sold 5,980 diesel-powered vehicles, up 14 percent from a year earlier.

Toyota's hybrid sales totaled 178,587 vehicles, down 5.6 percent from 2010.

For the year, Toyota failed to close the gap caused by its mid-year supply issues and ended 2011 down in hybrid vehicle sales. The company's hybrid sales totaled 178,587 vehicles, down 5.6 percent from 2010. The Prius, which accounted for more than three-quarters of Toyota's hybrid sales, moved 136,433 vehicles, down 3.2 percent, while all of the Lexus hybrid models that debuted before 2011 had lower sales last year. For the year, the Camry and Highlander Hybrid sales were each down more than 35 percent.

Meanwhile, Honda's hybrid sales fell 5.9 percent last year to 31,584 vehicles, as higher CR-Z sales – the sport coupe debuted in mid-2010 – were offset last year by a 26-percent plunge in Insight sales and a 36 percent drop in Civic Hybrid sales.

Ford finished 2011 up – albeit slightly – in hybrid vehicle sales. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which debuted in September 2010, quadrupled its sales to 5,739 vehicles and more than offset the effect of declining sales for both the Ford Escape and Fusion Hybrids. Overall, Ford's hybrid sales last year rose 1.4 percent to 27,114 vehicles.

Finally, Nissan sold 9,674 Leafs, finishing just 326 vehicles short of its goal to sell 10,000 of the battery-electric vehicles during the model's first full year in the U.S. Additionally, for the year, GM sold 7,671 Volts.

BRAND/COMPANY Vol% Dec. 2011 Dec. 2010 Vol% 2011 2010
American Honda
Honda Civic Hybrid -37.64% 565 906 -35.89% 4703 7336
Honda CR-Z -35.62% 564 876 115.85% 11330 5249
Honda FCX Clarity -100.00% 0 3 -88.24% 2 17
Honda Insight -57.85% 690 1637 -25.82% 15549 20962
AMERICAN HONDA TOTAL -46.84% 1819 3422 -5.90% 31584 33564
Audi
A3 TDI na na 3.82% 3609 3476
Q7 TDI na na 7.57% 3689 3430
Ford Motor Co.
Ford Escape Hybrid 23.15% 1080 877 -9.77% 10089 11182
Ford Fusion Hybrid -40.32% 888 1488 -6.51% 11286 12072
Lincoln MKZ 2.36% 434 424 381.46% 5739 1192
FORD MOTOR TOTAL -13.88% 2402 2789 10.91% 27114 24446
General Motors
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid/GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid 29.75% 205 158 -51.32% 1165 2393
Chevrolet Volt 369.02% 1529 326 2253.07% 7671 326
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi i na 76 0 na 80 0
Nissan North America
Nissan Leaf 4921.05% 954 19 50815.79% 9674 19
Toyota Motor Co.
Lexus CT 200h na 2259 0 na 14381 0
Lexus GS 450h 10.00% 33 30 -7.54% 282 305
Lexus HS 250h -75.56% 274 1121 -73.14% 2864 10663
Lexus LS 600h L -47.06% 9 17 -34.88% 84 129
Lexus RX 450h -19.67% 1233 1535 -29.08% 10723 15119
Toyota Camry Hybrid 45.98% 1797 1231 -36.65% 9241 14587
Toyota Highlander Hybrid -40.67% 563 949 -38.66% 4549 7416
Toyota Prius 8.73% 17004 15639 -3.17% 136463 140928
TOYOTA MOTOR TOTAL 12.90% 23172 20524 -5.58% 178587 189147
Volkswagen
Volkswagen Diesels (Jetta, Golf, etc.) na na
Note that some automakers do not break out hybrid sales figures from sales figures of their non-hybrid counterparts, and therefore cannot be accurately reported.