A study by Polk found that the majority of hybrid car buyers don’t end up purchasing another one – when Toyota Prius buyers are excluded, the number of repeat hybrid customers is as low as 22 percent.
In 2011, only 35 percent of hybrid customers bought another one. Hybrids seem to enable strong brand loyalty (Pirus and Honda hybrid insight owners had loyalty rates of 60 and 52 percent respectively) but don’t necessarily keep buying hybrid cars. 41 percent of Prius owners bought either another Prius or a hybrid from another OEM.
The biggest challenge appears to be, ironically, the advancement of fuel efficient gasoline-only cars. Consumers are finding it hard to justify the price premium when many small and mid-size cars are achieving strong fuel economy numbers without a price premium that could take years to pay off. Hybrid market share was 2.4 percent in 2011, with a peak of 2.9 percent in 2008.