Hybrids: Once was enough for most
It seems the majority of those who purchased hybrid cars in the past were not very satisified with their decision. According to a recent survey:
Only 35% of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when they returned to the market in 2011, according to auto information company R.L. Polk & Co.
If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%.
Consumers in regions such as Southern California and Seattle, where hybrid sales are strongest, are no more likely to be repeat customers than buyers in other parts of the nation, according to the Polk study.
The heavily promoted hybrids accounted for only 2.4% of new car sale in 2011. The problem is that even if gas prices stay at $5/gallon it can take years and even decades for buyers to recover the much higher cost of the hybrid compared to the cost of the increasingly fuel efficient conventionally powered alternatives on the market.
The breakout by cities for the R.L. Polk & Co. is fascinating. The most loyal owners of hybrids live in places not known for trendy environmentalism -- or trendy much of anything for that matter.
West Palm Beach, Fla., had the most loyal hybrid buyers, with Orlando and Tampa, Fla., also in the top four of 15 cities analyzed by Polk. Phoenix was second. Polk found that consumers in markets thought of as more environmentally conscious, including the California cities of Los Angeles and San Diego as well as Portland, Ore. and Seattle, are no more loyal to hybrid vehicles than the nation at large. In fact, Los Angeles ranked last among the top 15 cities analyzed and was under the national average of returning hybrid buyers.
Blue haired grandmothers have not been the image car companies seek when promoting expensive new technology but who knows? This is the age of the ungraciously aging hipster spouting anti establishment platitudes from the very heart of the manse. If Fiber One can use Cheech and Chong to promote its high fiber brownies all bets are off as to who might become the next spokesperson for alternative powered automobiles.