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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found a very informative article, comparing Insight sales to those of other hybrids. I'm glad that Insight is catching on. But the source of the article demands registration after the article has been up for only a few seconds. So, I have copied and pasted it below.

Honda's New Hybrid Beats The Toyota Prius In U.S. Sales
Feb. 20, 2019 6:02 PM ET | Anton Wahlman

  • Toyota Prius has been the hybrid compact car sales leader for close to two decades. However, its U.S. sales have now fallen for several years in a row.
  • Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq entered the market two years ago and took market share from Toyota Prius. Now, the Honda Insight entered the market in June 2018.
  • The verdict from this Honda Insight product launch is that Honda has come to outsell the core Toyota Prius version as of January 2019.
  • Honda’s offering can’t match the Toyota Prius fuel economy, available all-wheel drive or hatchback practicality.
  • However, Honda is the first hybrid to match Toyota’s powertrain smoothness, and it has the most upscale interior in its segment yet. Honda Insight should have been the 2018 Car Of The Year.
For almost two full decades, Toyota (TM) has dominated the gasoline-electric hybrid car market, first and foremost with the Prius family of vehicles. In the U.S., it was challenged in 2009 by the first four-door Honda Insight, but it flopped spectacularly.

More recently, in 2017, it has been challenged far more credibly by the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro duo of similarly sized and priced hybrids. In 2018, the hybrid market was joined yet again by two very different vehicles:
  1. The RAM (FCAU) 1500 pickup truck, which is available in some configurations with a mild hybrid system as standard. The RAM pickup trucks sold 536,980 units in the U.S. alone in 2018, but not all of those were hybrid. In fact, RAM does not break out exactly how many were hybrid, but I have an estimate: The current annualized hybrid sales rate is around 150,000 units per year.
  2. The Honda Insight. Yes, you heard that right. This is Honda’s second attempt at a four-door Insight (the original one from way-back was two-door) and became available in June 2018 and is basically the hybrid version of the Civic sedan. Honda also offers a scaled-up version in the form and name of Accord hybrid.
The RAM 1500 pickup truck is obviously a very different segment, so we will ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. We will attempt to learn how well the Honda Insight has done against the incumbent hybrid offerings since it started selling in the U.S. in June 2018.

This also is important in the context of whether the Honda Insight should have been “North American Car of the Year” in 2018. It was the only hybrid-only nameplate among the finalists for 2018 - but it did not win the title in the end. Was this incorrect, in my opinion?

Let’s start by looking at the U.S. sales numbers. First, the incumbent, the Toyota Prius. Before I show you the U.S. sales table, I need to point out that the U.S. Toyota Prius sales numbers come in four buckets:
  • The “regular” Prius, which is often incorrectly described - sometimes even by Toyota itself - as the “sedan.” A sedan is a vehicle where the luggage opening hinges at the bottom of the C-pillar, which the Prius does not. The “regular” Prius is a hatchback, whose rear opening hinges at the top of the C-pillar - which is the definition of a hatchback.
  • The plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, called the “Prime.” I will show this number too, side by side with the regular version.
  • The Prius C. It's smaller, has sold exceptionally poorly in the U.S. market, and it’s being discontinued. I'm ignoring it for this analysis.
  • The Prius V. It's the larger Prius, which was recently discontinued, as the Toyota RAV4 has effectively replaced it - selling a lot better in the U.S. market in particular. I'm ignoring it for this analysis.
So, with that, let’s look at the “basic” (“regular”) Prius and the PHEV (“Prime”) version of the Prius, side by side:
Toyota USAPrius basicPrius PHEV
Jan 201840111496
Feb 201838892050
Mar 201840642922
Apr 201838302626
May 201847602924
Jun 201847862237
Jul 201845311984
Aug 201852302071
Sep 201843702213
Oct 201837722001
Nov 201831802312
Dec 201831112759
Total 20184953427595
January 201915401123
As you can see in the table above, U.S. sales of the regular Prius has been declining, while the PHEV version have been rising - and are now almost as large as the non-plugin version. What about the competitors from Kia and Hyundai, that showed up two years ago, in early 2017? Let’s start with Kia.

When it comes to Kia, we have to first separate the regular Niro from the PHEV version. Soon, we also have to separate the BEV (battery-electric vehicle) version as it arrives near the end of the first quarter of 2019. Here's what that table looks like:
Kia NiroTotalPHEVNet
As you can see in the table above, U.S. Kia Niro sales have been fairly steady. The PHEV version, however, is not dramatically above 10% of the total.

Next, the Hyundai Ioniq. In the Ioniq’s case, we not only have to separate out the PHEV version, but also the BEV version. The table looks like this:
Hyundai IoniqTotalPHEVBEVNet
As you can see in the table above, the Hyundai Ioniq sales numbers are about half compared to Kia Niro, and the PHEV ratio is even lower, right around 10%. The BEV numbers are ultra tiny, and the overall trendline is approximately flat.

That leaves us with the most recent entrant into this compact hybrid segment, where the fuel economy aspired resides around the 50 MPG mark: Honda Insight.
Honda Insight2018

As you can see in the table above, sales started in June 2018 and rose almost immediately to approximately 2,000 units per month. This is where we need to display all of these four cars side by side, to see how they compare:
2018 US salesToyota PriusHonda InsightKia NiroHyundai IoniqTOTAL
Total 201849534125102484313141100028
2019 US sales

As you can see in the table above, the clearest trend is that the Honda Insight has been gaining market share. The monthly totals for the segment as a whole have not changed much, other than the usual seasonality of summer months being the peak. With the segment size staying approximately flat, and new entrants emerging.

Rather, it’s the Toyota Prius that has lost most market share, and it’s the new kid on the block - Honda Insight - that has gained all of it. Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq have been flat at best.

Most recently, in January 2019, Honda Insight even bested the “regular” version of the Toyota Prius in terms of absolute U.S. sales - 1,762 units vs. 1,540. Again, that’s stripping out the PHEV, C and V versions of the Prius total, as they are not comparable. The Honda Insight has no PHEV, pure electric (BEV), smaller or larger variant. It’s just that one body with that one powertrain.

Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight: Pluses and minuses
What determines whether a customer buys one of these cars vs. another? Let’s start with the Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight comparison.

Toyota Prius pluses:
  • Superior real-world fuel economy at well over 50 MPG.
  • Hatchback means much better luggage flexibility (that IKEA trip, bicycle, etc).
  • Available all-wheel drive (AWD) which loses only two MPG compared with the FWD version.
Honda Insight pluses:
  • Superb driver’s cockpit with comfort and controls.
  • Has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
  • Seating position, seat, steering wheel and overall interior upscale feel.
The Honda Insight has an excellent powertrain that's the first one to match Toyota Prius in overall smoothness. The fuel economy is lower - closer to 45 MPG real-world in my test -- than the 55-65 MPG real world I experienced in the Prius.
Still, the Honda Insight’s powertrain is a lot smoother than the one in Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq. I found those Hyundai/Kia transmissions to hesitate and not shift very smoothly. They also delivered no better real-world fuel economy than the Honda Insight.
However, as with the Honda Insight, the Hyundai and Kia interiors are better overall than the Prius, much because of the superior infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda beats them in terms of overall seating position and upscale feel, however.

Honda Insight and 2018 Car Of The Year
The Honda Insight was a finalist for the 2018 North American Car Of The Year title, announced in January 2019. It did not win.
I think it should have won, for two reasons:
  1. It’s the first hybrid of this kind with such an upscale interior, including a very comfortable seating position for a tall person. It’s also the first hybrid with a powertrain to match the Toyota in terms of smoothness.
  2. In late 2018 it came close to matching the core Toyota Prius version in U.S. sales and subsequent to the 2018 Car Of The Year Award, and it exceeded the Prius (January 2019) in terms of U.S. unit sales.
Toyota maintains advantages with its hatchback body style, superior real-world fuel economy, and available all-wheel drive (AWD). Those are surely decisive for many consumers. However, if you’re OK with a sedan, front-wheel drive (FWD) only, and real-world fuel economy just below 50 MPG as opposed to above 50 MPG, then the Honda Insight is a major breath of fresh air into the fuel-efficient compact car segment. It’s something of a breakthrough.

Now the question becomes: How soon will Honda make this kind of a superb hybrid powertrain available in its other nameplates, other than the Accord where it is already available?

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2019 Honda Insight EX
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I posted about this awhile back in another thread. The ioniq is selling pretty bad but the niro is pretty close to the insight. I actually didn't know the niro was a hybrid until finding this article.
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