Most Hybrid Owners Don't Buy Another Hybrid, Polk Study Says
By Jesse Snyder, Automotive News
Almost two-thirds of U.S. hybrid buyers returning to the market in 2011 chose something besides another hybrid.
Excluding owners of the best-selling Toyota Prius, the repurchase rate among other hybrid buyers dropped to 22 percent, according to a Polk study released today.
According to the study, the loyalty rate for hybrids since the beginning of 2008 has ranged between 26.4 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and 41.8 percent in the second quarter of 2009. The rate for the fourth quarter of 2011 was 40.1 percent while the total for 2011 was 35.0 percent
But there is some good news for manufacturers who have invested heavily into developing hybrid technology, said Brad Smith, director of Polk's loyalty management practice.
Hybrids seem to attract new buyers to brands, and they may also help brands retain customers, he said.
"It's a great conquesting tool for brands," Smith said in a phone interview, calling hybrid technology "a competitive edge when it comes to attracting new customers."
That is especially true for Toyota, a hybrid pioneer that has expanded its Prius hybrid line to three body styles and just added a plug-in version.
Polk said in 2011, 60 percent of Prius owners back in the market bought a Toyota brand vehicle. The study also found that 41 percent of the Prius owners back in the market either bought another Prius or a hybrid from another automaker.
For Honda hybrid owners, 52 percent stayed with the Honda brand, but less than one in five bought another hybrid from any brand.
Competition with conventionals
Smith said the biggest challenge for hybrid makers is that less expensive conventional fuel-efficiency technologies are also advancing rapidly, reducing the fuel-efficiency advantage of more expensive hybrids.
That may be why hybrids accounted for just 2.4 percent of total U.S. auto sales last year, down from 2.9 percent in a peak of 2.9 percent in 2008.
"The premium price points for hybrids are just too high when so many conventional small and mid-size cars have improved fuel economy," Smith said.
This was the first time Polk has conducted a study of hybrid buyers returning to the market.
Content provided by Autoweek.
Hybrids don't pay for themselves; nor are they "green." The Toyota Prius is the most un-green car to manufacture on the planet because of all the fossil fuels required to ship parts, manufacture parts, and assemble parts. Look it up, tree-huggers - you're not doing the "precious planet" any favors by buying a Prius - instead, you smug hypocrites are just wasting taxpayers' dollars for all your cash-back incentives from the government. "Green" is a business scheme to make money; it is not a reality.
I've done the math for fun on a Tahoe Hybrid:
Disregard any government money and rebates and assume you drive 15K/year and the costs of a Tahoe and a Tahoe Hybrid are $38K and $51K, respectively. The regular Tahoe gets 21mpg, and the Tahoe Hybrid gets a whopping 23mpg. With gas at $3.60/gallon, it would take 58 years - years, not months - to break even after buying a Tahoe Hybrid. Is it worth it? I'm going to go with a "no."
Diesels don't pay for themselves unless you're driving hundreds of miles a day. Let's face it, the only way to save money with a diesel is to drive the hell out of it and keep it for 200,000 miles or more. But guess what.... the rest of the vehicle has fallen apart around the engine long before you get 200,000 miles out of it, so... yeah, diesel (trucks) are a waste of money for the everyday driver.
IRN, didn't we just do the math on this recently?
Yes we did. The Jetta pays for itself around 110k to 120k miles (without taking into consideration today's cheap diesel prices). As I said below, if you don't own a car that long, you obviously don't care about saving money in the first place, so why care about price premiums?
Speaking of price premiums, I'm really enjoying paying the same price for a gallon of diesel ($4.05) as I would for a gallon of gasoline ($4.05).
The only way diesels don't pay for themselves is if you sell them before the 100k mile mark.
IRN, didn't we just do the math on this recently? Using the example of the VW Jetta, just for the diesel version to breakeven with the gas version you'd have to drive it 525,000 miles before you'd even start to save money with the diesel.
By the way, diesel is still $.40/gallon more here than unleaded regular as of this morning.
Why is it that EVERYONE seems to believe that the price premium one has to pay for a diesel powered vehicle over its gas powered brother is immediately lost the moment you drive the car off the lot? And then it will take, oh I don't know, a bazillion miles to make up the difference.
Have any of you taken the time to price used diesel powered vehicles? Trust me, they will ALWAYS be worth MORE than their gas powered brothers. In fact I believe that they actually depreciate at a lower rate so you would probably make money on them.
It's this type of misinformed mindset that contributes to the reduced demand for them and makes manufacturers think twice about making them available to those of us who know differently.
that's the problem with hybrids (and diesels too), there isn't an acceptable return on your investment
The only way diesels don't pay for themselves is if you sell them before the 100k mile mark. If you are dumping your cars that early, then you clearly aren't in the market to save money. Don't' get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with that. Many people have money burring holes in their pockets. But if that is the case, then why would anyone care about "return on investment" in the first place. Just buy whatever you enjoy.
By the way, the fact that this morning diesel was the same price as gasoline is just icing on the cake.
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