Hybrid car sales appear to be booming in Australia. In the month of June alone, there was a jump in sales of 84 percent for hybrid cars to private buyers.
Last year in Australia, which has a population around 20 million, there were 8,820 hybrids sold but only just over 2,000 went to private buyers. By the end of June this year, 1,950 hybrids had already been sold to private buyers.
There seems to be a few reasons hybrid sales have jumped in Australia during the past year or so. For one, petrol (gasoline) is more expensive than in the U.S., and there’s nothing like rising fuel prices to make people seriously consider a step up in fuel efficiency. This is not a situation unique to Australia, however.
Toyota has a plant in Australia where it assembles its Camry Hybrid, so the cars don’t have to be freighted very far at all. Toyota has lowered the price of the Camry Hybrid and Prius in the sunburnt country.
The choice of hybrids has increased in recent times in Australia. A wider range of Prius models went on sale earlier this year, and Honda has expanded its hybrid range to include the CR-Z sports coupe, the Insight hatchback, and the Honda Civic sedan (which I have, but not in Australia).
Toyota’s luxury Lexus range reportedly has four hybrid models on offer in Australia, and BMW has 3 and 5 Series hybrid models in the works. Holden’s (GM) range-extended Volt and Nissan‘s luxury Infiniti are slated to be released in Australia soon.
Further, some insurance companies are offering incentives for hybrid owners. The NRMA offers a 10 percent discount of comprehensive premiums for vehicles with a fuel efficiency rating of less than 5.5 liters per 100km. The RAC of Western Australia offers up to 25% off comprehensive motor insurance for cars emitting 150 grams of CO2/km or less. In Victoria (where the city of Melbourne is located), hybrid owners get a discount on car registration.
If you live in Australia, have you recently bought a hybrid, or have you noticed more hybrids on the roads there?