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Old 04-10-2012, 08:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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AOL Media says hybrid owners aren't repeat buyers

Hybrid Buyers Aren't Repeat Buyers

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According to a study, many hybrid buyers are one-and-done.
A surge in gas prices has helped hybrid cars and other alternative fuel vehicles capture the attention of the car-buying American public.

But not necessarily among those who have already owned a hybrid car – roughly two out of three don't buy another.

Only 35 percent of hybrid owners maintain loyalty to hybrid models when they return to buy another car, according to a survey released Tuesday authored by automotive researchers at R.L. Polk & Co.

The report was based on new registration records of 75,000 hybrid owners who purchased a new vehicle last year, one that either replaced the previous hybrid or added to their household vehicles.

Polk analysts said the percentage dropped to 25 percent when Toyota Prius owners are excluded from the data. The Prius is the most popular hybrid, selling 136,463 in 2011.

What's not clear from the data is the reason why current owners eschew a return to their hybrids. But Brad Smith, an analyst at Polk, said widening options may something to do with the admittedly surprising results.

"With diesel, plug-in electrics and hybrid cars, there are so many alternatives to gasoline," he told MSNBC.com.

AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley offers a few other explanations contributing to the lack of loyalty. "Since hybrids first burst on the scene and began proliferating, regular gas engines have become much more fuel efficient, this giving many green-conscious drivers justifications to go back to the internal combustion engine."

Adds Kiley, "Mid-size cars are now commonly topping 30 and 35 mpg in highway driving, so paying premium prices for hybrids that get close to the same mileage doesn't make sense to some of those early hybrid buyers."

Additionally, government tax credits for hybrids have faded away, though there are still generous credits available for electric vehicles.
True? If so, what up with that?

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Old 04-10-2012, 10:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Frank -

The credits are one part of it. The Hybrids lost their "fast lane" HOV status in California, which also dropped their resale value.

And the gas price crunch did up the ante for fuel efficiency. Without that I don't think we would have gotten that first wave of Yaris/Fit/Versa subcompact models.

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Old 04-10-2012, 10:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That's right- out in Cali there are a few takers for small cars. The MidwestUHners haven't gotten that far yet.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Some additional information here: https://www.polk.com/company/news/on...gain_says_polk
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You also have to look at what the non Prius hybrids that are being sold are, hybrid Ford Escapes, Hybrid Toyota Camery, why would I pay extra to buy a 28mpg Toyota Highlander hybrid? or a 21mpg Cadillac Escalade Hybrid??? I see them driving around and wonder if the owners feel they were worth it.

But out of the vehicles that get better mileage, owners of those look like they tend to buy another, but that the owners of green washed SUV's don't.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This doesn't appear to mean much. Are the present hybrids already worn out? Until that is more clear (the economic value of the car having been used up) the Pollyannas will always skip around. From sedans to minivans to Suburbans . . just a soccer mommy phenomenon. And what of fleet use?

So what we know by the above is more about marketing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It would also be interesting to see how the used market compares, do people keep their hybrid longer on average?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This is simple, Frank Lee. What happens is people get really excited about saving money at the pumps and associated whimsical aspects of fuel economy, buy a hybrid as a means of participating and then are ultimately dissatisfied when they realize a) most hybrids are not sports cars and cannot suddenly become one when you're angry or feeling saucy and b) fuel economy isn't always glamorous or trendy. People are generally subjects of social pressure and will base their consumption upon conventional wisdom, i.e. "a car should go fast, if it's slow it isn't working properly or is sub par". As to the social pressure bit, I have noticed that in spite of the significant increase in hybrids and evs on the market, the general public's interest has faded stateside. They don't understand that this dissolving interest is the direct cause of many of our oily economic woes as of late. When will the idiots learn?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
This doesn't appear to mean much. Are the present hybrids already worn out? Until that is more clear (the economic value of the car having been used up) the Pollyannas will always skip around. From sedans to minivans to Suburbans . . just a soccer mommy phenomenon. And what of fleet use?

So what we know by the above is more about marketing.
The people to ask are the taxi folks who beat the snot of these things on a regular since they have become so popular in the major cities. Here in Chicago, every size of hybrid is in use right now.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hybrids are rather new to the car market, so the people who buy hybrids to really save aren't really upgrading yet are they?

The fad-followers would be over-represented among hybrid buyers upgrading already.

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