Toyota’s Hybrid Sales Are Far Outpacing Its EV Growth

Photo: Toyota
Photo: Toyota

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, April 3, 2024, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: Toyota’s Hybrid Sales Up 57 Percent

After all the talk of dwindling sales at EV makers like Tesla and Chinese rival BYD, Toyota must be glad it maintained its focus on hybrid power rather than going all in on batteries. Now, the bet looks to be paying off as stellar growth in sales of hybrid cars has bolstered the Japanese automaker’s sales in the U.S.

Sales of Toyota cars in the U.S. rose 23 percent through March and sales for the first three months of 2024 rose 21 percent, reports Automotive News. Booming sales for America’s second-best-selling brand were owed to its impressive growth in the hybrid segment.


According to figures shared by the company, sales of Toyota’s electrified vehicles were up by 76.4 percent in the three months to the end of March. The growth came after sales of cars like the new Prius Prime, Camry Hybrid, Crown and Rav4 Hybrid, all saw volume increases in the triple digits for the first quarter.

The popularity of hybrids was replicated at sister company Lexus, which also saw its electrified sales increase by more than 60 percent in volume terms. As Automotive News adds:

The Japanese automaker’s collection of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen-powered and battery-electric vehicles accounted for over 36 percent of its total sales at both brands in March and for the first quarter.

However, while Toyota may like to lump all its mild-hybrid, plug-in models and battery-powered cars under the “electrified” umbrella, the sales growth was far slower for its fully electric models.

In fact, Toyota’s BZ4X electric car sold just 1,897 units across America between January and March 2024. That figure marks an 11 percent increase over last year, but still falls far short of the impressive EV growth seen by brands like Hyundai and Kia in recent months.

2nd Gear: GM Sales Falter Despite Truck Gains

While Toyota will be celebrating its sales successes this morning, General Motors has a little less to shout about as its latest results show a dip in sales across America. The company retains its place as the top-selling car company in the U.S., despite watching its sales for the first quarter dip 1.5 percent.

Despite the 1.5 percent drop in overall sales, General Motors did make gains in the truck segment, reports the Detroit Free Press. The American automaker sold 197,000 full-size trucks in the first three months of 2024, marking its best truck sales in the first quarter since 2020. The Free Press reports:

GM President of North America Marrissa West said in a statement that all of GM’s brands are doing well.

“GM gained retail market share year-over-year with strong mix and pricing, our inventories are in good shape heading into the spring, and production and deliveries of Ultium Platform EVs are rising, led by the Cadillac Lyriq,” West said in a statement. “We’re on plan.”

As well as pickup truck growth, GM also had some positive news in EVs , as the Cadillac Lyriq EV is finally selling in real numbers. The electric SUV accounted for 17 percent of Cadillac’s retail sales after the brand shifted 5,800 of them at the start of the year - a near-six-fold increase over the same period a year ago.