Honda Clarity PHEV U.S. Sales Edge Out Toyota Prius Prime


Clarity PHEV crowned plug-in hybrid champ in U.S. last month.

Believe it or not, for the second time ever, the Honda Clarity PHEV topped the plug-in hybrid sales chart.

By logging a confirmed sales total of 2,770 units in December 2018, the Clarity PHEV outsold all of the other plug-in hybrids offered in the U.S. Then, it again topped the PHEV sales chart in January by edging out the Toyota Prius Prime. Clarity PHEV sales for January checked in at an estimated 1,192 units.

The Clarity’s rise to the top comes shortly after Chevrolet announced the death of the Volt. With Volt sales now dwindling, the Clarity PHEV’s only real challenger is the Toyota Prius Prime, which it narrowly outsold last month. Prius Prime sales checked in at 1,123 units. So, the race is tight.

However, if we include pure electric cars in the mix, only the Tesla Model 3 outsold the Clarity PHEV. We estimate Model 3 sales at 6,500 in the U.S. in January, so it wasn’t a close contest here. But the Clarity PHEV did outsell the other two TeslasModel S and Model X.

The Clarity PHEV is spacious for a plug-in hybrid. Additionally, its electric range is on the high side at 47 miles, which is only outdone by the Volt’s 53-mile electric rating.

Discuss the Honda Clarity PHEV in our highly popular InsideEVs sub-forum here

The Honda Clarity comes in three distinct versions. There’s the aforementioned plug-in hybrid, which is the highest volume car of the trio. However, Honda also offers a pure battery-electric version, as well as a hydrogen fuel-cell Clarity.

Categories: Chevrolet, Honda, Sales, Toyota

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49 Comments on "Honda Clarity PHEV U.S. Sales Edge Out Toyota Prius Prime"

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Yes, both Honda and the Koreans have surpassed Toyota’s hybrid tech.
Of course the GM Volt is also superior so what does GM do but kill it.

Because of the tax credit the Volt will effectively be $7,500 more by years end – hard for GM to compete. Better off moving to greener pastures.

“…moving to greener pastures.”


Those are not mutually exclusive ideas.

How did they surpass? Toyota’s hybrid efficiency is still highly competitive. 39 MPG with 219 hp from a $28,000 base RAV4 hybrid is what? Imagine adding a plug to that newest system.

That is the problem. A PHEV is so much more efficient than a HEV and a long range PHEV is much more efficient than a short(ER) range PHEV.

Most efficient of course being a BEV. Toyota offers barely nothing when it comes to efficiency because of there lack of plugs, range and BEVs.

Unfortunately imagination isn’t enough…

You are mixing up RANGE with EFFICIENCY.

There’s a profound difference, a factor many supporting plug-in vehicles don’t recognize the importance of. That’s a big problem.

MILES/KWH is a measure everyone participating here should learn & understand.

Now you’re starting the malarkey again Star Trek John.

Honda is a Mid-size – so of course its going to use more electricity and gasoline.

Honda’s experience is proving my prognostication though:

GM thinks people are going to be buying the BOLT when they discontinue the VOLT, just days away now. Instead most consumers are apparently taking a close look at the competition.

Don’t worry though John – Prius Prime will also pick up some sales that would otherwise have gone to a VOLT.

How GM could be SO DUMB as to discontinue the Best selling plug-in in North America at the drop of a hat, when they invested $Billions into fuel cell technology , and only have a Steroided Colorado pickup for the army to show for that.

GENERAL MOTORS: How to make a SMALL FORTUNE (out of a large fortune).

Calling what you don’t understand “malarkey” is quite telling. There are many who believed it was better to simply add more battery capacity, rather than build a better system. Thankfully, that’s changing.

Wasting electricity is not something we want to promote, period.

Is this a third name that Pushi uses? Your comments aren’t much more intelligent than his lately.

Pedantic displays of simple concepts are usually his forte.

Larsson is just saying that the Clarity will have ‘higher efficiency’ since its higher efficiency electric motor runs a greater percentage of the time during most trips than does a PP.

Of course this is an academic difference and I don’t want to get into that because that is something you TRULY DO NOT UNDERSTAND John, but you’re not alone.

I wish we didn’t have to imagine adding a plug to the Rav4 hybrid… but unfortunately, we have to imagine.

Adding a one-way clutch and larger battery-pack doesn’t take much imagination. It’s even easy to see how that approach will be affordable.

Meanwhile, we wait for the other automakers to play catch up. Interesting twist when you step away from just a car mentality.

no, what I am meaning is they don’t make one, so I have to imagine. Toyota’s market is going to evaporate and they won’t know what happened.

My wife would be driving one of these instead of her Leaf if it had been available. She really wanted that form factor but settled for the Leaf because she does a multitude of 1-5 mile trips per day and doing those on ICE is very hard on the ICE and uses a ton of gasoline especially in cold weather. So, Toyota lost one loyal customer.

Imagine, because they haven’t done it…

John, how’s life on Toyota’s payroll? Still waiting for you to say one bad thing about Toyota to prove you don’t work for them. I won’t hold my breath though….

I’m not feeding the troll. Find someone else’s posts to spin.

I wouldn’t even try to outdo the master of spin. I can’t compete with someone who has Toyota’s marketing team behind them. Do they pay you by the post, or are you on salary with them?

A big surprise to…. no one. Most dealers actually want to move the car and will give you a modest 5-8% msrp discount on top of the fed credit when you lease in CA. When you add up all credits you come up with a lower payment than and Accord for a car with much better mpg and have more options on the car. It’s even more ridiculous in the NE as they have an extra 3k in lease credits. But hey, if you wanna be stupid and lease the Accord or the Civic instead (for more money) no one can stop you.

Great comment.. as always Mark. 👍

Here too inOhio

Just one data point, but still, I’ve been surprised to hear a Buffalo area Honda dealer pushing the Clarity PHEV in their radio ads.

On a broader point, I expect Honda to develop Clarity into their green sub-brand, ala Prius at Toyota. But Honda already has a Clarity EV which could become vastly more interesting if they would put a decent size battery in it. Combine EV goodness with the excellent reputation Honda has here in the US for reliability and overall design, and I’d bet they’d have a hit with a longer-range Clarity EV.

Has nothing to do with the technology, the Honda is a nicer car to drive.

Has to be for people to stomach that styling.

I am genuinely surprised by the number of Clarity PHEV sales as of late. When this car was originally announced I was expected them to sell 100 or 200 per month. This was for two reasons. 1) Because it is ugly. and 2) because I didn’t think Honda was serious about selling anything with a plug on it. And while the car is certainly ugly, many people will complain the Toyota Prius is also equally ugly, just in different ways. But Honda’s real reason for the sales success is that the car is well stocked across the entire country, not just in California. As I’ve complained about before, you can’t even buy a Prius Prime in the Dallas area where there are at least 5 or 6 Clarities park at every Honda dealer in town. I do not know if Toyota simply can’t produce enough to meet demand (considering all Prius models come from the same factory in Japan, thus it has to supply wordwide demand for the car) or if they just aren’t interested in selling it in the rest of the country. One way or another, Honda is doing it and I tip my hat to them. Now… Read more »

Go check one, in person, in a darker color…you will understand why some that hate the design still end up buying it.

Clarity has the Honda name, 5 passenger utility with decent storage space, and a very, very useful 47 mile range while being priced relatively affordably. No wonder they are selling a decent number.

I’m not impressed with the initial reliability reports on the Clarity, though. I’d wait until they get that proven to be at least average reliability before considering one.

Ad campaign that went Nationwide

To be honest no one likes those fender skirts. However the positives of getting a Clarity such as substantial gas saving and the sensory benefits of riding in full electric mode is enough to disregard that rear fender skirt. Plus it’s a relatively cheap car. If you get one and find out that you can’t overlook the silly rear design you can easily get rid of it in a couple years and buy another EV car that will be better and cheaper.

I think they botched the exterior too. Funny thing is for years in the concept mode it was gorgeous. Then they added a couple of unnecessary crinkles in the sheet metal. It would take very little to get back to the original design. Our family has owned three Honda Accords over the years and put a lot of miles on them. My first straight out of school back in 1984 remained my favorite car for many years until I purchased a Chevy Volt. I loved driving the Volt until I purchased a Tesla Model 3. Man, what a technology jump!

Imagine the numbers they could rack up if they weren’t so ugly.
Conversely, how many Model 3s would Tesla sell if they looked like a Clarity or Prime?

Alot more than Honda and Toyota.

Good point. Tesla’s looks help, the brand recognition helps, but the Model 3 is still considerably better performance. There are a lot of faithful Honda fans out there, so good on Honda for selling the Clarity.

Model 3 is nice but it’ wouldn’t win any beauty pageants.

2018 Clarity deals:

**Year, Make, Model, and Trim: 2018 Honda Clarity Base – Red on Beige
**MSRP: $34295
**Monthly Payment: $199.57
**Drive-Off Amount: $350-500 DMV, $595 Bank fee, Taxes, 1st month
**Months: 36
**Annual Mileage: 10,000
**MF: 0.00047
**Residual: 43%
**Available Incentives: $10800
**Region: NY, NJ, CT

Too bad GM killed the Volt. It was a nice gateway vehicle to BEVs. When stomping on the Volt’s accelerator pedal you were assured of not hearing and feeling the ICE start up and ruin the moment. Something no other PHEV has accomplished.

I like that the Clarity starts the engine for added performance, something I wish the Volt offered. Its ELR sibling did in its final model and it made the car a lot faster. If you don’t want the engine, put in econ and don’t go past click point on the pedal and the engine won’t start (with a few rare exceptions).

Needs a BIGGER BATTERY and a serious facelift stat.

No, battery is fine and so are looks. A bigger battery wouldn’t fit without eating into interior space, and the best thing is the car has loads of interior space. I loved the Volt, but it was too small for my family.

Looks only a Mother (owner) would love.

Most owners don’t even like the looks…

Well that’s on them.

Better lease it or it will own them ugly or not for a long long time.

What it needs is a better interaction between the 2 drive trains. The ICE needs to stay the f*** off when you have ev battery range available.

For the most part it does unless you request it. Mine has had the odd random start a handful of times in 31,000 miles. The car has an engine and it needs to be used regularly. I fear people buy PHEVs when they really meant to buy a BEV.

Check the forum here and see i’m not the only one with this problem…but you know that already.
“car has an engine and it needs to be used regularly. ”
You don’t really believe that and neither do i. I can understand once a month but 3-5 times a week is just too much. Check the Volt and compare. I’m trying to not charge to 100% now and see if that helps since i live on a hill top. Too bad Honda cheaped out and did not give this car a proper charging menu.
“I fear people buy PHEVs when they really meant to buy a BEV.”
I agree, this should not be confused with an ev….even when on a full charge.

Love to see massive dents in toyotas sales figures, ugly, underpowered non-plugin tards are dying so fast and it is so nice to watch.

For a long time I dismissed the theory that car manufacturers make electrified vehicles ugly on purpose to limit sales. This car finally convinced me of it. Such a great car for the money, but ugly beyond words.

Glad to see the Clarity is continuing its monthly sales lead over the Prime. The Clarity is a worthy alternative to the soon-to-be-dearly-departed Volt; the Prime is too little, too late.