Consumer Reports: Hybrid car buyers may go electric | Science updates | -- Your State. Your News.

Jul 07th
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Consumer Reports: Hybrid car buyers may go electric

toyotaprius041112_optBY BOB HOLT

Aside from the Toyota Prius, studies suggest that people who buy hybrid cars are not becoming repeat customers.

A study based on car buying between 2008 and 2011 said that just 35 percent of hybrid buyers will purchase another one, according to Polk, an auto industry data company.

The percentage falls to less than 25 percent if the Prius is taken from the equation, according to Consumer Reports. The study found that sixty percent of Toyota hybrid owners bought another Toyota.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Toyota sold 136,463 Priuses in 2011 even with delays in receiving supplies due to the earthquake in Japan. Ford only sold 11,286 of its Fusion.

Most hybrids cost $5,000 or $7,000 more than regular vehicles, extending the terms of financing. The report says that the number of hybrids offered by automakers has doubled over the past five years.

Lacey Plache of automotive information site told the Detroit News, “The lineup of alternate drive vehicles and their premium price points aren't appealing enough to consumers to give them the momentum they once anticipated, especially given the growing strength of fuel economy among compact and midsize competitors. Certain obstacles — including consumer unease with unfamiliar technology and the lack of an adequate recharging infrastructure — will need to be overcome before sales increase."

One reason for the lack of loyalty to hybrids may be that around 17,000 people turned to electric cars in 2011, many of them trading in hybrids, according to the study. Honda has also faced high-profile lawsuits over fuel economy problems with models of its Civic hybrid.


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