Hybrid owners unlikely to buy another, survey shows
SAN FRANCISCO, April 11 — Thinking of buying a hybrid? Chances are that if you do, you will not be buying another one in the near future, a new study has suggested.
Despite a quieter ride, better environmental credentials and dramatically reduced fuel costs, most hybrid buyers don’t opt for the same technology when coming to buy their next vehicle, automotive analyst Polk revealed this week.
Surveying US consumers, Polk found that last year only 35 per cent of hybrid buyers chose to go hybrid again, despite a dramatically increased number of hybrid options out there for consumers to choose from.
That is perhaps surprising, especially given that hybrids are considered to be the start of a revolution when it comes to the way we drive and are widely predicted to gain market share in the years to come.
What’s even more surprising, however, is that the likelihood of consumers to go hybrid for a second time actually appears to be falling — nearly 40 per cent of consumers back in 2009 opted to make their next car a hybrid.
The saviour of the industry today still seems to be the Toyota Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid — remove that from the equation, and the hybrid repurchase rate last year drops to a meagre 22 per cent.
In an era of astronomically high gas prices (even in the US, which traditionally enjoys lower gas prices than much of the rest of the world), an unwillingness to repurchase a hybrid may seem counterintuitive, but much of the reasoning can be seen when hybrids are placed in the automotive market as a whole.
Today’s cars are getting ever-more efficient, particularly in the US, where the pace of change from Detroit has been nothing short of extraordinary.
The new Ford Fiesta compact, for instance, can manage up to 5.88 l/100km in fuel economy, not far off from the 4.61 l/100km that the latest Toyota Prius can manage.
The key difference between them, of course, is the pricing point — the Fiesta’s MSRP is from US$15,670 (RM47,000), while the Prius starts at US$24,000, and in straightened times, it seems many buyers are unwilling to make the investment in a more expensive hybrid model. — AFP/Relaxnews