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Car sales up, hybrids growing

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Car registrations are up 11.9 percent over last year, with the fastest-growing segment being hybrid cars, according to an analysis from Experian Automotive.

The hybrid car segment was up 61 percent compared to the first half of last year, with registrations of the Kia Optima hybrid up the most in that category. Indeed, Kia reported record-setting sales of its Optima, which comes in both gasoline and hybrid models, selling more than 100,000 cars so far this year, making it Kia's best-selling vehicle.

With a starting price of $21,200, the 2013 Kia Optima includes such standard features as a six-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, tilt-and-telescopic steering column, an air-conditioned glove box, heated exterior mirrors with built-in turn-signal indicators, and fog lights. There are two gasoline engines available, which get 24/35 and 22/34 city/highway mpg respectively, while the hybrid version gets an EPA-estimated 35/40 mpg.

Even with the large increase in the hybrid-car segment, the segment only represented 3 percent of registrations. The top-selling vehicle segment was midsize cars at 27.4 percent, followed by crossovers at 19.4 percent and small cars at 14.7 percent.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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