US Hybrid and Electric Cars Market Trends & Analysis

The US hybrid and electric car market has grown strongly in recent years. The dominance of Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is being challenged by other manufacturers, such as Ford Motor Company (Ford). This case study examines recent movements in the market, factors influencing these trends, and analyzes Toyota and Ford’s position in the US hybrid and electric car market.

Features and benefits

  • Find out what the major movements in the US hybrid and electric car market have been in the past few years, and what has been driving them.
  • Get a range of data on the US hybrid and electric car market, including historical sales volumes, market share and market segment information.
  • This report includes analysis of Toyota and Ford's current US electrified product lineups, and recent issues that they have faced.
  • This case study identifies Toyota and Ford's future plans in the hybrid and electric car market.

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Sales volumes of electric and hybrid cars have been fluctuating in the US over the past few years, with the market being hit hard by the economic downturn from 2008 onwards. However, sales picked up in 2012, and continued to grow at a strong pace in 2013.

Although retaining its dominant position, Toyota’s market share was eroded in 2013 following increased sales from the likes of Ford, a company that has recently significantly increased its presence in the alternative fuel vehicle market, as well as the success of pure electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf.

Although the US hybrid and electric car market is currently growing at a strong rate, manufacturers are already moving to new fuel technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells and solar power. This shows that manufacturers are committed to alternative fuel vehicles in the long term, and that they are set to grow in importance over the coming years.

Your key questions answered

  • Why is the US hybrid and electric car market growing, and why is this set to continue in the coming years?
  • What has been the biggest growth area of the US hybrid and electric car market, and what are the reasons behind it?
  • How, and why, has Ford taken the number two spot in the US market in terms of sales volume?
  • What potential threats does Toyota face in the near future?

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Table of Contents


The US Hybrid and Electric Car Market
Hybrid and electric cars are becoming increasingly important to manufacturers
Hybrid sales volumes have fluctuated between growth and decline
A greater number of models due to CAFE regulation returned the market to growth
Higher gasoline prices have also spurred on sales of hybrid and electric cars
Plug-in vehicles in particular offer tremendous growth opportunities
Increasing plug-in incentives have led to plug-in growth in the US
Concerns over range are becoming less of an issue
Demand for both high and low end electric vehicles is outstripping supply
Toyota remains dominant, but is losing market share
The US hybrid segment is dominated by Toyota
The US plug-in segment is more fragmented, but with some clear leaders
Toyota’s share of the whole market is slowly but surely eroding

Toyota: The Incumbent Manufacturer
Current products are heavily weighted in favor of hybrid technology
Toyota branded vehicles
Lexus branded vehicles are a premium offering, but ignore the plug-in segment
Product recalls and price drops have hit Toyota
Product recalls have been especially damaging
Price cuts have hit Toyota’s Prius Plug-in in the US
Future development and plans will continue Toyota’s hybrid focus
Hybrid technologies remain Toyota’s “key technology”
Fuel cell technology is Toyota’s future

Ford: The Challenger
Ford’s product line-up is more balanced than Toyota’s
Ford offers an equal number of hybrid and plug-in vehicles
Ford only offers electrified versions of existing conventional passenger cars
Ford occupies the middle ground of the market
Most of Ford’s electrified vehicles retail at a premium over conventional versions
The Lincoln brand directly competes with Lexus
MPG discrepancies and price cuts have impacted Ford
Issues with C-MAX hybrid MPG ratings have hit Ford in the US
Ford has dropped the price of the Focus Electric and Fusion Energi SE
Ford plans to increase production and branch into other alternative fuels
Ford is ramping up production facilities and staff numbers
Ford plans to implement other alternative fuel technology in the future

Toyota retains overall dominance, but is facing a challenge

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List of Tables

Table: US hybrid and electric car market volume, units, 2005-2013
Table: US hybrid and electric car market category segmentation, %, 2005-2013
Table: US hybrid car market share, by volume, 2013, quarterly
Table: US plug-in car market share, by volume, 2013, quarterly
Table: US hybrid and electric car market share, by volume, 2013, quarterly

List of Figures

Figure: US total passenger car and hybrid and electric growth by volume, yearly %, 2008-2013
Figure: CAFE passenger car MPG standards (1978-2025)
Figure: Number of alternative fuel and hybrid models offered by manufacturers in the US, 2005-2013
Figure: Average US gasoline prices, yearly, 2006-2013
Figure: Toyota Prius C hybrid car
Figure: Toyota branded US hybrid and electric vehicle range, as of March 2014
Figure: Toyota's Strategy for Environmental Technologies
Figure: Toyota FCV at CES 2014 concept car
Figure: Ford dwells on the fact that the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid does not retail at a premium in its marketing
Figure: Ford’s C-MAX Solar Energi Concept