Once You Go Hybrid, You Never Go Back (to a Hybrid)


A new study has just been released showing the nature of hybrid car buyers.

Sixty-six percent of hybrid car owners are not repeat customers according to a recent survey by firm R.L. Polk. They say hybrids help brands retain customers but customers that purchase a hybrid are quick to change back to the conventional car once they need a new ride. According to Polk's study that was published in AutoNews, "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." If you take the Toyota Prius out of the equation, the repurchasing rates drop to an astounding 22 percent. Conventional models cost much less and the advancement in technology in these more familiar vehicles narrows the gap between fuel efficiency in petrol plants and the more expensive dual-engine hybrids. Last year, hybrids accounted for just 2.4 percent of total U.S. auto sales. Hybrid sales hit their peak in 2008 with 2.9 percent of total U.S. auto sales.

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Bob Lutz's passion project, the Chevrolet Volt, has had its fair share (pun intended) of criticism in the last few months but this latest result is a bit damning. So, two-thirds of hybrid owners don't go back to hybrids. What do you reckon the over/under is on President Obama doubling down on his Chevy Volt in a few years' time?

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