By on April 9, 2012

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.

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97 Comments on “Most Hybrid Car Buyers Don’t Purchase Another One...”


  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Is it irony, Or did the Prius make consumers care about mileage to the point that automakers started prioritizing mileage in conventional cars?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The reason Toyota Prius buyers will purchase another one is that Toyota has pretty much perfected the usable and practical hybrid and after many years, is the “go-to” model of this genre. Perhaps GM won’t give up on the Volt and will improve it to the extent that it too, will become the gold standard in its genre.

    Either way, it’s a lot of technology just to move one’s behind efficiently from point A to point B.

    It’s not not enough to make me go out and get rid of my Impala just yet. After all, it’s almost 8 years old, paid off, has been as reliable as our Honda, runs very well, and on my commute, I have never gotten less than 30 mpg. Generally averaging 31.5 and have gotten as high as 35.44 last October. If I had an around town, surface street commute, a hybrid like a Prius or a locomotive-like Volt would make sense, but until and if I get such a commute before I retire, I’ll never find out.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The maligned GM W-Body with a 3.8L V6 N/A engine and the ‘ye ol GM 4-speed auto is about as reliable as the sunrise. The 3.8L V6 bows at the altar of torque and with a moderate amount of attention given during highway driving, will provide 28 to 31 MPG when driven around 70 MPH. The dismal resale value due to their rental fleet queen status and only mother can love looks in the case of the Monte Carlo make them outstanding values as used cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Mine is the more-maligned 3.4L!

        When I get on the highway and find my spot, I set the cruise at 62-64 mph generally, and enjoy the ride as much as possible. Keeps the stress level down.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Zachman, I am glad you like your 3.4 but I will forever despise it as a gutless loudly reving, thrashy lump. I have sampled it in a 2004 Impala and a 2007 Equinox AWD. I have found it barely adequate in the Impala and useless in the Equinox. But then I also suspect that living at 6,500 ft has something to do with that.

        (The first few times the fleet Equinox was loaned to me I would have sworn on my grandmother it was a 4cyl, I had to look under the hood to be convinced it was not.)

        The 3800 on the other hand feels like a small block V8, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I am such a glutton for punishment I went with a GM 3.4L V6 – twice. Well, other than the NVH the first one wasn’t bad. The second one chewed through all its gaskets as it rolled over 120K miles just like a good GM 3.4L V6 with Dexcool is supposed to do.

        The 3.8L V6 on the other hand – reliable, great torque curve, easy to work on, and cheap to get parts for.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @Educator_Dan:

        I suppose a high elevation would affect any engine’s performance, but computer controls have largely eliminated that I would think. In the case of the 3.4L, I have no idea. So far, mine has run very well, but being older and never a hot-rodder (well, except for a long time ago in my ’64…), I suppose I’m a bit easier on a car than when I was younger. I also strictly maintain the car by the book, i.e: every 30K coolant & tranny fluid changes and anything else it may need. This week I’m having shocks & struts replaced and rear rotors again – which will be covered. 96K miles on the clock, so far. My commute racks up the miles pretty quick.

        I didn’t realize there was that much of a difference between the 3.4L & 3.8L. I’ll have to research that…now you have me wondering…

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Love the dubya body… should be V-body for used car value.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Well, like the article says, purpose-built hybrids have a pretty high loyalty rate. Bolting a hybrid drivetrain into an existing car is not as successful, I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      supersleuth

      But that wouldn’t make for a rabble-rousing headline, would it.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My Prius would still probably still get fantastic mileage, even if it weren’t a hybrid. And it would still be a practical little hatchback. That’s the secret to the whole thing.

      That and that the green+tech reputation of the Prius makes it a socially acceptable to drive a modestly priced and practical little hatchback, even if you’re someone who “should have moved upmarket by now”..

  • avatar
    John R

    Maybe its psychological. Maybe some of these owners are tired of getting cut-off when they’re in the passing lane…

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It’s been shown the premium for a hybrid takes a while to recoup. Better to buy a hybrid lightly used and the payoff is within reach.
    Since hybrids make little economic sense the only reason left is using less oil, the belief you are doing some part in reducing our dependance on oil.
    It’s nice to believe in something these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      Consider the large-scale, long-term environmental destruction wrought by lithium mining. The displacement and colonialization of local peoples. Then weep into your Wheaties, my friend, and be ready to lose your faith.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Not as bad as the oil wars that my friends had to fight (I’m in my early 30s).

        People who aren’t receptive to choosing the lesser of two evils ride bicycles and eat a vegan diet, to reduce their environmental impact. I know some of these folks and, while there are sometimes holes in their knowledge and reasoning, they work harder to avoid hypocrisy than most people I know.

        The Prius is for people who want to live a mainstream lifestyle, while wasting a just a little bit less. And it does achieve that goal. Ours has 7 years and 145k on the clock, and it’s going strong, and we’ve long since paid it off and recouped the hybrid premium.

        I’m eagerly awaiting an electric car or a plugin hybrid, though, but the Prius looks like it will easily keep on chugging until I can afford one. But, since I openly want to live a mainstream lifestyle, I don’t feel like a hypocrite for considering things like my finances in a mainstream way.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        I’m sure the phrase “oil wars” resonates with the aging hipster crowd (pro tip: you really shouldn’t be wearing those skinny jeans in your early 30s), but the rest of us weep at your geopolitical simplification.

        Let me guess: your map of the world is labeled “‘Merica”, “Snow”, “Mexico”, “Black People”, “Oil”, “Thai Food”, and “Kangaroos”?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I’ll just list some non-Prius hybrids: Accord Hybrid, Altima Hybrid, Malibu Hybrid, Aura Green Line, Vue Green Line, Tribute Hybrid, Mariner Hybrid, Durango Hybrid, Aspen Hybrid…

    Anyone who bought these could only become a repeat buyer if they bought used, since all these models (and a couple makes) are now defunct.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Speaking as a used car guy, I’m not sure I trust the hybrid of a defunct automaker, especially if the model was only available a year or two… such as Dodge/Chrysler or the Aura Green Line (Mercury/Mazda are an exceptions because they are just Fords and Ford still supports hybrids). Parts will be fun to acquire as they age with the added bonus your friendly neighborhood shop probably won’t touch one. Maybe as time goes on that will change.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    This study basically applies only to Toyota and Honda. Prior to just a couple of years ago there weren’t any hybrids of volume from OEMs other than Honda and Toyota that are still production. The Escape Hybrid was just about it.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Honda is a good case to make this point as their hybrids have never cut it compared to the competition and sell poorly. Honda could have bucked the hybrid trend but it had illusions of grandeur (play keep up with Toyota). So Honda must have invested billions of $ and likely millions of R&D hours spent on its hybrids that account for < 5% of their entire sales volume. It reminds me of a desperate gambler who's tell has been discovered and is trying to bluff his way to a big pot. Sometimes you have to cut your losses – admit defeat and get back in the game doing what you did best.

    Meanwhile, Honda's bread and butter cars were put on the back burner and have become average, misguided and at times completely obsolete. Acura is a joke as usual – your luxury flagship car is FWD based when the market has rejected this notion for the past 20 years. Just this last month, Hyundai / Kia conglomerate has outsold Honda/Acura this month for the first time ever in the US (Honda's #1 market). Honda's hybrid fantasy has to be one of the most expensive automotive blunders in the past 20 years. They irony is that Honda management doesn't see it this way and it seems it will only get worse. This reminds me of GM – build it and they will buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You are aware that Honda was first in the US market with a hybrid – and not Toyota. It wasn’t delusions of grandeur in playing catch up. The original Insight still remains the poster child for best hybrid MPG you could have bought. They never sold in any volume given they had two seats and minimal cargo room (think a large A-segment car or very small B-segment car by today’s standards).

      When Honda came out with their next wave of hybrid products they really screwed it up. The Accord hybrid attached a hybrid system to a V6 Accord, and the marketing weasels pimped the fact that it was a full second faster 0 to 60 then its non-hybrid V6 cousin. Hybrid meant you paid a ton of extra money, got a benefit of 1 or 2 MPG, and another tick faster.

      It was Honda that started the trend of building a dedicated platform hybrid. The first generation Prius was built on the Toyota Echo, a fact that Toyota probably hopes most people would forget. The Prius was built as its own chassis and Toyota’s own research in the mid-2000′s indicated that people bought the Prius because it make the statement, “look at me, I’m saving the planet,” and that their other hybrid offerings like the Highlander and Camry would not sell well because they don’t make the same visual bold statement.

      Toyota even kicked around making a Highlander hybrid that did not look anything like the Highlander to help it stand out, and drive hybrid CUV/SUV sales – the idea died when the price of fuel stabilized, the tax credits went away (seems everyone likes to forget the fat tax credits Toyota and Honda feasted on) and hybrid sales declined from their peak levels.

      You are correct that Honda has been very misguided in their efforts and has done just about everything it can to kill its own hybrid program. From being first out of the gate with the right concept, but not capitalizing on it. For the disaster that the Civic hybrid is. To the awful Insight that makes a Cavalier interior seem plush and a Caliber’s ride seem luxurious, to the answer to questions no one asked like the CR-Z (for the love of God, drop the hybrid, put in the Si motor and have instant CR-X mojo you remember when car – give it a 1.5L 4-banger with tall gears and enjoy 42 to 44 EPA Cycle MPG highway happiness).

      But lets remember, Honda was first to this party – they squandered their lead in thought leadership.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        You are right with one thing – Honda’s Insight 2 seater was the first hybrid sold in America in 1999. However, Honda did play catch up as it did not offer the first hybrid to the world – that feat was done in 1997 with the original Prius which went on sale in Japan. Toyota subsequently sold it in the US in early 2001.

        Honda’s repeated hybrid failures and it’s lack of focus and execution in its non-hybrid lineup – you’d think all that money and engineering time spent on hybrids would help the rest of the company give it a stronger core product. Honda canceled bringing over it’s class leading diesels at the time, missed providing a small diesel v6 in the Ridgeline and Odyssey that would give them a completely different perspective. It missed direct injection, has stalled on HCCI (compression ignition engines using gasoline), sold cars with 4 speed / 5 speed autos years after competitors changed, gave us FWD luxury cars no one wanted, had on / off again NSX prototypes for years, missed out on turbocharging (even with Honda’s brilliant success in F1 during the turbo years), pulling out of most motorsports venues (Honda used to race to improve its technology…now it seldom races its cars but only to advertise), makes a very light jet that was promising 10 years ago but by the time it goes to market in the next few years has lost it’s design advantage, and on and on and on.

        They way this company is operating with the blinders on, operating by committee and having no accountability for its failures – they may not be around 10 years from now or at least not as an independent automaker.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “…seems everyone likes to forget the fat tax credits Toyota and Honda feasted on…”

        Nowhere near as fat as what’s on tap for the Volt. And Toyota feasted on them by building a car that people wanted… and still want.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    New technologies often require strong brand credibility. Toyota and Honda buyers purchase hybrids partly because these cars are Toyotas and Hondas, not just because they are hybrids.

    How many Prius drivers previously owned Toyotas? I would suspect that would be a key factor.

    Hybrids may not be conquering sales for manufacturers, but just seem to be the latest tech fad being presented by a manufacturer the purchasers like. A Prius is just a new Toyota to them that they dump when they are ready for another new Toyota.

    I also suspect that Toyota and Honda buyers would try other auto fads from their preferred manufacturers. Like wearing the latest fashion fad from a prestigious label, hybrids could just be Ugg Boots or Crocs for folks who just wish to make an auto statement, circa 2010.

    When we consider this, we can perhaps see why the Volt is failing. Unlike Toyota or Honda, Chevy doesn’t have the fashion or the latest creds, to attract hybrid buyers. Expecting a Toyota or Honda customer to buy a Chevrolet is like expecting a San Franciscan to move to Houston. Toyotaphiles and Hondaphiles are more attractive to hybrids because they are Toyotas and Hondas, than to the fact that they are hybrids.

    There has been a desire among hybrid advocates that hybrids would on their own, bring in conquest sales from brands not offering hybrids. The possibility certainly was there when hybrids first appeared on the scene. However, after all these years, perhaps what we are seeing is just a fact that hybrids are just another option within a brand’s portfolio, like a diesel option, or a V8.

    Even with doubled gas prices since 2009, the hybrid market isn’t expanding, but contracting. Hybrids are still trying to break out of the auto fad stage – even today.

    • 0 avatar

      The Prius has always had the best gas mileage in the US (except for the original insight, which was impractical). The people I know who have Priuses all got them for the energy efficiency. In one case, there was enough driving involved–120k in five years so far–that she’s probably on the verge of saving money. The other two–more just wanting to be good to the planet

      The Volt isn’t getting anywhere because it’s a porker that has mediocre energy efficiency once the ICE kicks in, and because even after all the incentives, it costs twice as much as its body twin, the Cruze.

      I’m not sure that plugin is an idea whose time has come.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      And not just the brand, but the price tag, too. It’s one thing to consider plunking down $20K on a Cruze, but $40K+ on a Volt, and suddenly we’re talking real money.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Without having a base line figure for context, the data has limited value. Whether hybrid buyers are less, more, or just as loyal as are other buyers is not clear from this.

    That being said, this class is dominated by Toyota, and TMC hybrid sales are dominated by the Prius. It may be hard to generalize about a market for hybrids when it is so heavily weighted toward one company, other than the fact that it isn’t easy to sell any hybrid in large volumes that isn’t a Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      Thank you, Pch101. A voice of reason (as usual). I frankly expected more on this site. I don’t know much about Derek yet, but should he not have viewed this article with a more crictical eye?

      Other than having no idea what other cars segments’ loyalties are, ignoring what seems to be a pretty good Prius loyalty, ignoring a stated higher than average manufacturer loyalty, not taking into consideration how many next car purchases are families keeping the hybrid and augmenting it with another type of vehicle, ignoring the several quarters where loyalty was over 40%, limiting the study to the recession and tsunami years, ignoring many hybrids that did not have a direct replacement built, and ignoring the market beating surge in hybrid ownership in the current 2012Q1, this is a great study!!!

      That sarcasm was understood no? C’mon Derek, this (above paragraph) is what you should have been writing, as a TTACer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Other than having no idea what other cars segments’ loyalties are”

        Now that I’ve done a bit of research, the hybrid figures seem pretty decent.

        Toyota leads the market in brand loyalty, at 50.6%. Honda comes in fifth at 46.4%. Loyalty figures seem similar to baseball — even the best of the bunch are going to strike out much of the time.

        http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/01/toyota-back-no1-brand-loyalty-kbbcom-quality-safety-supply-problems-/1#.T4OWePJHqSo

        When it comes to loyalty within product segments, the loyalty figures are even lower. For example, the Town & Country leads the minivan segment — its loyalty rate is 31.5%.

        http://blog.polk.com/blog/blog-posts-by-margaret-zewatsky/minivan-glory-at-the-north-american-international-autoshow

        The Subaru Outback leads the Mid/ Full-Size category, at 35.6%.

        http://blog.polk.com/blog/blog-posts-by-theresa-gorman/living-loyalty-the-united-people-of-subaru

        In other words, these hybrid figures in the mid-30′s seem to be pretty typical for class leaders, while Toyota scores a homer with its Prius results. Hybrids seem to do a reasonable job of holding onto buyers in comparison to other segments. The headline is (inadvertently) misleading.

  • avatar
    redav

    I can’t tell if these numbers are for replacing a hybrid or simply their next purchase. Do they keep their hybrid for their in-town commutes and buy a second, larger vehicle for their other needs? I don’t think there are enough EVs being sold to think that eco conscious early adopters of hybrids are now eco conscious early adopters of EVs.

    If people were turned off by their hybrids, you wouldn’t see brand loyalty afterward, unless the observed brand loyalty was in place prior to buying the hybrid.

    Obviously, regular ICE cars getting 40 mpg hwy has hurt hybrid sales. Ford is discontinuing the Escape hybrid exactly for that reason–they feel the ICEs have improved enough that their hybrid is no longer viable.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      You got it wrong, Ford is going hip deep into hybrid Escapes, but they pulled a Toyota trick and gave it a unique look and name.. much easier to sell the hybrid premium that way. You dont get these stupid comparisons that people do between Vols/Cruze and Leaf/Versa, when these cars dont share a single body panel.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You got it wrong”

        Er, you might want to take a look at the sales figures before you make such assertions.

        About 51% of the US hybrid market in 2011 consisted of the Prius. 2/3rd’s of the hybrids sold were Toyota or Lexus products. Second place was Honda.

        Ford has a small sliver of the market. They may be producing a variety of them, but they don’t sell well.

        http://www.hybridcars.com/news/december-2011-dashboard-sales-still-climbing-35093.html

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        I know Prius dominates the market and that is a reason Ford dropped the Escape Hybrid and will replace it with a unique hybrid model, plus a plug-in also. Ford thinks hybrids must be dedicated models to succeed.. not options.

      • 0 avatar
        Woochifer

        The “unique” hybrid that Ford’s bringing stateside is basically a rebadged version of the C-Max, which is a MPV/space wagon that has been a top seller (in non-hybrid guise) overseas for years. It’s unique only because Ford won’t offer any of the conventional ICE drivetrains that they sell by the tens of thousands in Europe, to American buyers. Ford’s setting it up to fail, given that the MPV market in the U.S. remains unproven (the Mazda5 is the only true MPV currently available in the U.S., and it’s purely a niche vehicle). They’re trying to sell it as a Prius V wannabe, and Ford doesn’t have the brand identification behind it that Toyota does.

        Having a unique body style for a hybrid vehicle is no guarantee of success. Just look at the Honda Insight, which has barely registered a pulse in the market in both incarnations.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Uhh, the hybrid Escape is pretty comparable to the regular Escape.

        I shopped for (and preferred) a Hybrid Escape, but ended up buying a very used regular Escape. Our good car is a Prius, and I like hybrids quite a bit — but the hybrid version of the Escape hasn’t sunk into beater-car territory. Even ten years out, they run about $5k more than a non-hybrid Escape. It looks like you get the hybrid premium back when you sell the car. Alas, I was looking for a beater wagon to replace my beater truck, and decent wagons carry as much of a premium as the hybrid Escape — settled for the non-hybrid Escape. It’s cheap, maintainable, and hackable — but the in-town gas mileage is even worse than my Ranger, despite having comparable EPA numbers. If I find myself with an extra $5k burning a hole in my pocket, maybe I’ll trade up to the hybrid version.

        Anyway, back to the point — arguing that the hybrid version of the Escape is as differentiated from Ford’s lineup as the Prius is from the Toyota lineup is just missing the fact that the regular Escape is a very volume seller. And for good reason — as much as I settled for the Escape rather than a wagon of a hybrid Escape, it actually was designed for people with my exact needs (kid-friendly, all-weather, light towing) and does a good job. Maybe I’ll lower mine so that it’s more of a wagon height.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @woochifer: ” Ford’s setting it up to fail, given that the MPV market in the U.S. remains unproven (the Mazda5 is the only true MPV currently available in the U.S., and it’s purely a niche vehicle).”

        My Escape says “MPV” on the door stickers, not “SUV” or “CUV”. MPVs are a huge success in the USA — it’s just that most people expect them to be jacked up higher than necessary and tarted up in pseudo-rugged cladding. I’d rather just have an MPV/Wagon.

        The C-Max is a vehicle that I’m watching, but its towing capacity will determine whether it’s competing with the paid-off Prius or the paid-off Escape that is currently my driveway. If it has a 1500lb towing capacity, it’ll replace my 10-year-old Escape beater trucklet. If not, the goalposts are substantially higher, because the Prius has been an excellent car for us and my wife wants to keep that ball rolling, if she can.

      • 0 avatar
        Woochifer

        @luke42 “My Escape says “MPV” on the door stickers, not “SUV” or “CUV”. MPVs are a huge success in the USA — it’s just that most people expect them to be jacked up higher than necessary and tarted up in pseudo-rugged cladding. I’d rather just have an MPV/Wagon.”

        Labeling aside, I doubt that too many people in the U.S. are going to label the Ford Escape as anything but a compact SUV or CUV. MPVs, as a vehicle class, are basically tall compact wagons and classified as cars rather than small trucks. Anything with a jacked up chassis or pretensions to off-roading is a SUV or CUV.

        MPVs are commonplace overseas but a very rare breed in the U.S. and every model sold in the U.S., dating all the way back to the Mitsubishi Expo and Nissan Axxess, has only seen modest sales. Right now, the only MPV sold in the U.S. is the Mazda5, which is only imported to the U.S. in small numbers. The Kia Rondo was discontinued in the U.S. due to poor sales, and the Chevy Orlando bypassed the U.S. market altogether (even though both the Orlando and Rondo are sold in Canada).

        The Ford C-Max is already a best seller overseas, using a conventional ICE drivetrain. Ford had earlier planned to bring it over here in both the five and seven-passenger variants. With a decent marketing push (which no MPV has had in the U.S. market), I think Ford could have established a decent market for the C-Max, regardless of the hybrid drivetrain. I think the timing is right for an alternative to the compact CUVs. But, Ford is only bringing over the five-passenger version and only installing the hybrid drivetrain. To me, that’s far too narrow a market niche and it’s setting the C-Max up for failure, which unfortunately might also make it nearly impossible for any other manufacturer to bring another MPV over in the future.

        Just two years ago, GM was planning to bring over the Orlando, while Ford planned to bring the C-Max over once the next generation was introduced. Rumors were also flying that Honda would bring their Stream MPV to the U.S.

        Instead, GM withheld the Orlando, Kia dropped the Rondo, and Honda gave the U.S. the dreadful Crosstour instead of the Stream. The C-Max was really the last hope that someone would make a legitimate effort to establish a market for the MPV class in the U.S. (Mazda basically allocates zero advertising dollars for the Mazda5, yet they still sell close to 20k units a year) Instead, Ford decided to narrow the C-Max’s market niche and turn it into their green halo vehicle. Rather than establishing the C-Max as Ford’s answer to the Prius, I see the C-Max turning into Ford’s version of the Insight.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    This is a erroneously sensationalist title (I know it comes from Automotive News).

    So Polk says, most hybrid owners don’t purchase a another hybrid, EXCEPT if you own a Prius. Which has a 41% of buyers buying another Prius, and 60% buying another Toyota.

    Guess what? The Prius IS the hybrid market. The Prius is 57% of the US hybrid market by volume(as of the last reported quarter). What study ignores 57% of the sample size.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s rather like talking about the tablet PC market and saying “Excepting the iPad…”

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        This is the analogy I (thankfully) keep hearing today. Glad a few people get how ridiculous this “study” with its cherry picked data and weak conclusions really is.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Beat me to it. And not only is the Prius the lion’s share of the hybrid market, it’s arguably the most successful hybrid in terms of the product itself, offering the most “hybrid-y” experience as opposed to a conventional sedan with weird engine sounds and a $7k hike to the sticker. I certainly wouldn’t buy one, but my wife likes “the idea of a hybrid”, and she almost certainly would.

    • 0 avatar
      Mazda323

      Yep. It’s just awful reporting of the study in general (referring to the Automotive News story, since the TTAC article is essentially the same thing).

      - 41% of Prius buyers buy another Prius OR hybrid of any make. How many actually buy another Prius? We don’t know. Could be 1%. Could be 40%.

      - They talk about “repurchase” rate, implying repurchase of the same model since they have just cited the Prius as an example. But the study (as shown in the headline) is actually about hybrid owners buying another hybrid in general, not about hybrid owners buying another hybrid of the same make and model.

      - Then suddenly they introduce “loyalty rate” without defining it. Reading between the lines (given the later paragraph about Prius buyers sticking with Toyota), it appears they mean brand loyalty. However, this could mean “hybrid loyalty.” It could mean “specific model loyalty.” We don’t know. They don’t tell us.

      - They talk about the rate of Prius owners who stick with Toyota – 60%!!! But is that good? We don’t know. What’s the rate of Camry owners who stick with Toyota? What’s the rate of ANY model owner who stick with that brand? What’s the best brand loyalty rate? What’s the median? We don’t know.

      Perhaps we can check the study ourselves? Nope. No link to the data is provided.

      The only piece of information that was useful / interesting (to me at least) was buried at the bottom of the story – 2.4% market share for hybrids as a whole? Huh. I would have guessed higher.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        According to Car and Driver, Prius has the highest re-purchase rate of any midsize car, so it would seem that Polk is working some serious spin into this article.
        http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2012-toyota-prius-c-first-drive-reviews-i-remember-it-well-i-drove-so-slow-page-2

        I should note Car and Driver is quoting Toyota for that factlet. I keep forgetting that fact checking is too much work for most of our media.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        Mazda323, the curernt hybrid percentage rate is much higher, almost 4% in the mnost recent month. But that fact was not mentioned in the article, which picked the recession and post-tsunami era is its best indicator of purchasing trends.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …Which has a 41% of buyers buying another Prius, and 60% buying another Toyota…

      That is not what the article said, not even close.

      …41 percent of Prius owners bought either another Prius or a hybrid from another OEM…

      41% of Prius owners buy another HYBRID, regardless of manufacturer – but they do not buy another Prius. That is a HUGE difference. I’m pretty shocked that 59% leave the hybrid party all together.

      Statistically speaking, if you have 10,000 Prius buyers, 60% of them stay with Toyota. That’s 6,000 customers. Of those 41% will buy HYBRIDS. That’s 2,460 customers, total. Of those about 80% will buy a Prius (based on the last product mix data I’ve seen from Toyota), that’s 1,968 customers. The other 20% will be spread out among Toyota and Lexus offerings making up about 500 additional customers. The other 3,540 customers are buying non-hybrid offerings from Toyota, Scion and Lexus, and the final 4,000 customers went somewhere else, of those 41%, about 1,640 total bought another hybrid from Porsche, Mercedes, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and I’m probably leaving some other makes/models off the list. Given the combined hybrid sales numbers of all those makers easily exceeds 1,640 a month – the math adds up. 2,460 hybrid buyers that stay in the Toyota fold plus the 1,640 hybrid buyers that left the Toyota fold equals 4,100 in our 10,000 sample – which is 41% – 41% of Prius buyers buy another HYBRID, 60% of Prius buyers buy another Toyota.

      It isn’t a sensational headline when you run the math, and apply a little reading comprehension.

      As far as the article even implying to ignore the Prius, I think you have it wrong.That is praise for the Prius, not saying ignore it. The story strongly implies that if you take out the Prius, the loyalty for other non-Prius hybrids is in the toilet, and the Prius is the king.

      • 0 avatar
        Mazda323

        Speaking of reading comprehension :) -

        From your post: 41% of Prius owners buy another HYBRID, regardless of manufacturer.

        From the article: 41 percent of Prius owners bought either another Prius or a hybrid from another OEM.

        See the difference?

        The article is saying either Prius or another manufacturer’s hybrid. Camry hybrid is out. Any other Toyota hybrid is out.

        According to that part of the article, if Prius owners decide to stick with a hybrid but switch away from a Prius, they all leave Toyota. 0% of Prius buyers move to a Camry hybrid or other Toyota hybrid.

        Unless there’s another percentage of Prius owners who do switch to another Toyota hybrid and the author decided to ignore them for some reason? We don’t know, because we don’t know what the other 59% of Prius owners do! They don’t tell us.

        This is why people are frustrated with the article and are saying that it is making ridiculous claims that aren’t supported by the small percentage of the study’s results that the author has apparently chosen at random to share with us.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Mazda323

        I find it impossible to believe that Prius buyers either buy another Prius or a Toyota offering that isn’t a hybrid, but do not, ever, in any statistically blip buy a hybrid Camry, Highlander, Lexus product, etc. etc.

        None, zilch, zero??? I get the electrons on the screen, but do you really believe that?

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        Just to illustrate to you how horribly sensationalist the study is, Polk, who did this study, actually gave the Prius an Automotive Loyalty Award for its highest segment customer retention rate.

        Last quarter, hybrid segment loyalty was %40.1. Meaning 4 out of 10 people that had hybrids purchased hybrids again (that’s for all brands and makes combined). Basically, what the study found was that decision to purchase hybrids fluctuated based on gasoline prices.

        The lowest level of hybrid segment loyalty? That was in Q2 of 2011 after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, when hybrids had a huge supply issue.

        If you actually wade through the data a very different picture is formed. The blame needs to be shared between Polk and AN. Polk has a press release stating that hybrid retention is “only” 35% between 2008-2011 (not so far as to remove the Prius from the calculations).

        Here’s the thing, Automotive News is hidden behind pay-wall for most users. A lot of us do pay for it, but I know many don’t. A lot of sites just regurgitate what’s on AN without much thought.

        Automotive News, has been sensationalist before, but they’ve really went out of their way to contort this study. If you watch the video, which they title “Hybrids a one-time buy?: Most hybrid buyers don’t seek another one” they even has the segment ending with a Chevy Volt hypermilling of the middle of the highway with cars changing-lanes and avoiding the slow moving Volt.

        Aside from that insinuating footage, the title of the article, “Hybrids a one-time buy?” proves Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. Which states:

        “any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no”. The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.”

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        Just to illustrate to you how horribly sensationalist the study is, Polk, who did this study, actually gave the Prius an Automotive Loyalty Award for its highest segment customer retention rate.

        Last quarter, hybrid segment loyalty was %40.1. Meaning 4 out of 10 people that had hybrids purchased hybrids again (that’s for all brands and makes combined). Basically, what the study found was that decision to purchase hybrids fluctuated based on gasoline prices.

        The lowest level of hybrid segment loyalty? That was in Q2 of 2011 after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, when hybrids had a huge supply issue.

        If you actually wade through the data a very different picture is formed. The blame needs to be shared between Polk and AN. Polk has a press release stating that hybrid retention is “only” 35% between 2008-2011 (not so far as to remove the Prius from the calculations).

        Here’s the thing, Automotive News is hidden behind pay-wall for most users. A lot of us do pay for it, but I know many don’t. A lot of sites just regurgitate what’s on AN without much thought.

        Automotive News, has been sensationalist before, but they’ve really went out of their way to contort this study. If you watch the video, which they title “Hybrids a one-time buy?: Most hybrid buyers don’t seek another one” they even has the segment ending with a Chevy Volt hypermilling of the middle of the highway with cars changing-lanes and avoiding the slow moving Volt.

        Aside from that insinuating footage, the title of the article, “Hybrids a one-time buy?” proves Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. Which states:

        “any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no”. The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullsh_t, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.”

      • 0 avatar
        Mazda323

        @APaGttH:
        No, I don’t believe it. :) It has to be a mistake.

        That’s why I was ranting like a lunatic about how bad and misleading the article is. I apologize if it came off as abrasive, by the way.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “I’m pretty shocked that 59% leave the hybrid party all together.”

        Speaking as a Prius driver with a growing family, I wonder if the reason is because there’s no hybrid minivan?

        My wife and I have had a great experience with owning our Prius. If we need something bigger, she’d be open to replacing the Prius with a Prius V or a Sienna, in an attempt to continue that excellent experience.

        But, alas, I don’t have any statistics to back that up. But, I do wonder how many Prii are being replaced by Siennas?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    The article makes reference to “hybrid owners back in the market…”

    Is their re-entry to the market on account of a desire to retire their current hybrid? Or are they back in the market because they need another car and are keeping the hybrid?

    World of difference in that and the AN article doesn’t explain the situation.

  • avatar
    faygo

    parroting the AN story (including the headline) seems lazy. repeating an originally thin, un-examined story at face value is lazier. one need not go into full editorial mode, but other than linking to the AN story (which I grant, most here probably do not have access to) and driving clicks (which I guess is your whole point for existing) it seems hollow.

    as others noted, Prius is a huge portion of the HEV market. if one is serious about the advantages of a hybrid, you would expect a customer to keep the car for as long as it was serviceable, effective at being fuel/cost efficient.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Without digging into how accurate the title is…I’d say that hybrids (Prii especially) have done the auto market a great, if unintended, favor. Every single Prius buyer has had to throw off their usual safe choices and intentionally buy something they wouldn’t normally have. Small suprise to me that some significant percentage of them are more open to buying something different yet again once that car is gone. When’s the last time you saw so many people driving odd-tech wagon/hatchbacks and getting the respectful nod for that choice from their unadventerous neighbours?

    Now that they’ve went and jumped the shark on a wagon hybrid, why wouldn’t we expect a lot of them to say, “well it turns out that I want something more fun to drive, lets give that VW/Mazda (or gasp, a manual) a shot,” or, “I see now that I need more storage space than any hybrid is offering maybe I’ll get an actual wagon next time.” We should keep in mind just how huge a leap of faith it is for the average idiot (sorry, had to), to go hatch, never mind hybrid. Almost no other choice is going to be as extreme as that.

    Good on Toyota et al… for making the genre reliable, in the end they’ve opened the door for Hyundai/Kia, VW, Mazda, Nisaan to see new customers come out of those households, as well as their neighbours over the fence.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      –Every single Prius buyer has had to throw off their usual safe choices and intentionally buy something they wouldn’t normally have.–

      Not true. They just bought another Toyota. That is why most bought a Prius – they wanted a Toyota. The fact that it is hybrid is only an interesting side. Would they buy another hybrid? Seems that it doesn’t necessarily matter. Prius drivers will simply buy another Toyota and whatever their favored brand is selling that sounds interesting, they’ll buy next time.

      I believe we are seeing that hybrids are just another engine choice for Toyota buyers. The days of the conquest sales due to the hybrid being offered, seems to be over.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        VD: “I believe we are seeing that hybrids are just another engine choice for Toyota buyers. The days of the conquest sales due to the hybrid being offered, seems to be over.”

        Except the Prius, which is purpose built, not an engine option, and very successful. Toyota sold 28K Priuses last month, 20K were the Classic. There aren’t too many other cars on the market selling at that level.

  • avatar

    I don’t see anything groundbreaking in these numbers. The typical mission changes as time passes for most people. There are some hardcore users of, for example, trucks. They are conceived in the back on the truck, haul their kids in a truck, and then die in the same kind of truck. Other people select a vehicle that’s suitable for the mission profile they foresee. Not a big story here.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    A lot of hybrid fans seem really upset by these numbers – not sure why.

    We’re seeing a shift in the US market. Customers are willing to leave the D-segment for highly contented C-segment offerings that can tickle 40 MPG and offer acceptable performance for the driver. The value proposition of buying a hybrid over these cars doesn’t add up as well, and more sophisticated, and cash strapped in the new economy customers are looking more critically at the numbers.

    A hybrid is not the “oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” thing to have anymore, it’s the newest technology on the block and its going to save us from those evil Arabs luster is gone.

    Finally, once you move away from the Prius, the hybrid offerings, even within Toyota’s product lines (Lexus included) kind of suck. You lose truck space, they are over priced, SUVs that you can tow with or take down a gravel road, high premium for low return, eAssist, GreenTech, blah blah blah blah. Customers are waking up to that also.

    At the end of the day the hybrid has one fatal flaw. The last I checked, it has a gas tank, and it needs evil gasoline go forward. Just not as much as a Chevy Tahoe. But Tahoe sales are non-existent these days, and the B-Segment and C-Segment are offering up near luxury features in 40 MPG packages and nominal seating for four adults.

    The value proposition for a hybrid is getting thin (the Prius C is a great example on the other hand of a valid B-Segment fighter).

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Obama’s CAFE standards mean that people will have to buy hybrids whether they’ve learned they’re a waste of money and don’t want any more of them or not.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      I read where Obama is creating a tax that is only collected from registered republicans. The funds generated from this tax are going to be used to subsidize the purchase of hybrid/electronic vehicles for single, non-christian, homosexual mothers on public assistance. Those who receive a vehicle can also have their insurance expenses subsidized if they spend between 5.7 and 12.2 hours a week either seizing firearms or destroying the sanctity of marriage.

      What is this country coming too?!?!?!

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        Just to be clear, DTS, there IS a loophole in the new tax for communist Muslims born outside the US, but only if they wear a hoodie and are on birth control while driving a Chevy Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It probably isn’t a coincidence that you have the views you do and aren’t informed about Obama’s hiking of CAFE standards in coming years beyond what can be achieved with a product mix similar to what people want to buy. Attack the messenger. Just stay away from mirrors.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        It probably isn’t a coincidence that you have the views you do and think that one man is going to force people to buy a hybrid. Let’s not forget the list of major automakers who support the new CAFE standards. Do you think GM and Ford would really agree to the proposed standard if it would be detrimental to their top-selling vehicles?

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Do you really think Ford had a choice in the matter? (GM is irrelevant; they’re just following the boss’ lead.)

        And if you’re unclear on just what happens when that “one man” signs an act of Congress, I can recommend to you a Schoolhouse Rock special. It holds up well.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Banter aside, assuming Barry would still have been be keen on hybrids/EVs/whatever had the GM bailout somehow not happened, do you think he and his administration would tout the Volt so much, or would they point to the Prius as a poster child for their green dream? Food for thought.

  • avatar
    ragtopman

    Hybrids always have left me scratching my noggin. This is supposed to be a technological breakthrough that saves the world from self-destruction and squeezes unheard-of mileage out of every precious gallon of high-priced gasoline. Yet, they’re priced out of the reach of people who would benefit the most from their efficiencies. I’m guessing most people can’t afford the price premium and those who can aren’t squeezed as hard as most of us are by the price of gas.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      The hybrid premium doesn’t pay for itself over the life of that car b/c the gas only equivalent is almost as efficient. The only cars that do make up the price premium are VW diesels b/c the gas models get terrible mileage in the first place and the diesel upgrade only costs $1.5k more. Even the Prius whose real corporate counterpart is the Matrix won’t pay for itself in the normal lifetime that owner would have to keep it (5-6 years). Plus when they are that old – you have to replace a battery eventually as the battery degrades over time. Which I doubt the statistics given in the table takes into account the reduced battery efficiency (gas saves should diminish over time as the battery runs out of juice faster). That is normal with rechargeable batteries.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete K

        Please site your sources for this information? I have yet to see a gas only car offer 50 mpg in combined driving…

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        A Pete K – you are misreading my post as I never said that a gas car gets 50 mpg. I said the $4-$5k you save buying a gas only equivalent over the hybrid will save you more money than buying a hybrid in the end. So Spend $18-$20k and get a Matrix over the Prius that you’ll have to pay $23k+ for. That $3k+ delta is a hell of a lot of $ you can use to pay for the delta in mpg you get with the Prius for that Matrix. Toyota wants you to compare it to the Camry 4 cylinder which costs $22k but is a larger car with more passenger interior room – only close in total interior room due to Camry is a sedan only and Prius is a hatch. Funny thing is when you compare the Camry to the Camry hybrid it takes 6 years to break even on the hybrid over the increase purchase price.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Every year parents with school age children move to edge suburbs where the concentration of young family homeowners is high enough to swamp out the effect of kids from rental properties. In their effort to get their kids into good schools, these parents endure brutal commutes in stop-and-go traffic with rush hour defined by school and daycare schedules. Under those worse than EPA city cycle conditions, a conventional car gets horrible gas mileage. A Toyota Prius offers a fairly practical solution to the brutal commute problem while also letting people like my brother signal their continued support for the environmental/left cause despite relocating for the sake of their own kids.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Use truedelta.com and compare the price of a Prius and a Matrix.. once you adjust for options the hybrid premium is about $1500… plus you get unbeatable reliability because a Prius does not have any belts, clutches, alternators, starters, turbos or direct fuel injection.. there is a reason they are bulletproof even in taxi duties.

        Even the water pump is electric.. no belts!

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        Just optioned the upgrade matrix with auto and 2.4 liter engine and it sits at ~ $2k. Since the Matrix has a larger engine and substantially more power that is an option the Prius can’t be had with. Also electronics on a car don’t fail b/c they are no longer hydraulically driven?

        I do applaud the Prius reliability but in 6-7 years – how strong is that battery as like all electronics that are rechargeable the battery weakens not allowing as much electric only propulsion so the engine has to turn on sooner and more often. How much is a replacement battery anyway if it’s not replaced under warranty.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    That 2011 figure (hybrids making up 2.4% of total sales) needs some qualifier. The supply of hybrid cars was severely constrained that year due to the Tsunami in Japan. If you look at the Mar 2012 figure, hybrids now comprise 3.44% of all car sales.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I don’t think hybrids have been on the market long enough or that there have been enough choices to draw any meaningful conclusion here. If gas stays in the $4-5/gal range I’m guessing more people will buy them than at any previous point and so long as a gas remains high will continue to buy them. Once you’ve gotten past the “tree hugger” hybrid buyers I’m sure it’s the cost of gas that will determine their future sales. That said, the cost of a hybrid vs. the 30/city 40/hwy subcompacts now available I think will decrease hybrid sales.

  • avatar
    GoTerpsGo

    I am one of those who had owned a hybrid (’03 Civic) and ended up with a regular ICE (’10 Fit). Since everyone has their reasons for doing what they did, I’ll just briefly mention the reasons for my purchase:

    1. The hybrid performance was totally disappointing. Initially I was averaging in the low 40′s, but by the end I was averaging in the high 30′s. This was despite doing what hypermilers do – gliding to red lights, over-inflating tires, not stomping on the gas at the line, etc etc etc.

    Meanwhile, using the same hypermiling techniques, I’m getting around 34-36mpg with my Fit.

    2. I thought I was doing everyone a favor by using less gas, but I really didn’t like how it would take years to make up the difference. I think I did at least break even after 7 years, but man that’s way too long.

    I suspect $20k for a Civic Hybrid in ’03 was a bit overpriced, but $17k for a Fit Sport (sans nav) in ’10 was a deal, and considering I’m getting almost the same mileage and I’ve got fewer parts to replace, it’s a much better deal.

    3. Even now it seems like hybrids are either cheap and inflexible or capable but expensive. Aside from being dirt cheap to purchase and maintain, it swallows a ton of stuff that a similarly sized sedan can’t touch.

    Will I ever consider a hybrid? At this point, no. It still requires a lot of compromises – it costs alot for not much gain, and the cheap ones are not flexible. That said, the Prius C is the most interesting one now IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I suppose they won’t make you the Volt poster child, since you considered the facts before making a replacement purchase for your hybrid Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Civic Hybrid is pointless and continues to be as Honda’s hybrid technology is simply lower tech than it competitors. Look at the CR-Z you can get a car that looks fast but is very slow and gets the same mileage as its faster and non-hybrid competitors. As someone said…Honda answered a question no one was asking.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    There’s some funny math here.

    41% of Prius owners bought another Prius… what about those who leased the Prius? This number ‘feels’ low to me.

    And they excluded the Prius buyers from the survey? Why?

    This Polk survey doesn’t stink, but it definitely smells.

  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    I wonder how many hybrid drivers haven’t bought another car because they’ve held on to their original hybrid… this would limit the trade-ins to people whose needs in relation to their vehicle has changed – more cargo/seating/towing capacity. The larger hybrid options lack the distinct advantage of the smaller cars, the price premium vs. cost savings for these vehicles is even harder to justify than for the smaller vehicle.

    We set a price range for a used vehicle and the Prius ended up being the best option – hatchback will fit both dogs with the rear seats flat, small and easy to parallel park in the city, great on gas. At our price range we had to sacrifice on the interior (cigarette burns, covered up by the shady dealer with facial concealer) and mileage (98k). I suppose our “price premium” is represented in that another vehicle of the same price may have had a nicer interior or lower mileage, but those things just don’t rank too high on our list. Actually we did compare to a Fit, which was “too small”, not as good on gas, and was the same price. My wife says weekly how happy she is to get 50 mpg, or every time she has to fill up… and she’s the type to find the absolute lowest price even if it involves extra driving. That said, there will come a time when we’ll need to be able to fit the two dogs in the trunk (hatch) area without the seats down, and for that we’ll need a larger vehicle, and that probably won’t be a hybrid, as we shop used and there aren’t really many good new large options out there. I suppose if we hold out long enough we’d be comparing used Prius Vs and C-Max’s.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Newsflash: buyers are more loyal to brand than powertrain. News at 11.

  • avatar
    ckgs

    This is just re-posting and hyping a sensationalist headline, something that seems to be getting more common on this site. How about some thoughtful analysis to reveal the “truth”, as many of the posts here have done?

    Since I took the (link)bait, I’ll post my opinion: I think this reveals the problem with using the term “hybrid” as a vehicle class rather than simply a power train alternative. Do people that buy four cylinder engines by another car with a four cylinder? Do people that purchase diesels purchase another diesel? Same questions, but because we’ve been encouraged to think of “hybrids” as a class of vehicle, this poll seems more important.

  • avatar
    Woochifer

    Although I see the sensationalism in the headline, I think it is true that outside of the Prius, the repurchase rate on hybrids could foreseeably be on the decline. I think the reason is simple — the number of high fuel economy car options has exploded over the past couple of years. You no longer need to go all-in on a hybrid to get decent fuel economy.

    And I think more car buyers are perfectly fine with a car that can manage 30+ highway MPG. Also, a lot of the hybrids that got shoehorned into an existing platform proved less than satisfying to drive, and the fuel mileage improvement wasn’t all that much better with a lot of those first generation models.

    With the new generation of direct injection engines, turbos, stop/start systems, cylinder deactivation, and other gas saving tweaks on conventional ICE cars, owners trading in their first generation hybrids have a lot options more to choose from, without the driveability compromises that often accompany hybrids or the higher sticker prices.

    With those first generation hybrids, a lot of owners now have the end of the battery warranty in sight. So, the potential replacement cost of the battery is no longer seen as some distant hypothetical. Also, many owners have also seen dropoffs in their fuel economy (a friend of mine recently sold his Civic Hybrid, partly because the fuel economy had declined by about 10% compared to when the car was new).

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe it is because people who actually bought a Hybrid may have found that buying an ICE vehicle in that same size and weight class is actually more advantageous to them in addition to saving them money.

      Take the Volt as an example. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that buying a Cruze would be a whole lot better and cheaper, unless of course your sole function in life is to save the planet. In that case, rational thinking does not apply.

      OTOH, people who have owned a Prius often step up to a Camry Hybrid, or a Highlander Hybrid because they liked what they got in the Prius. It may take decades for them to break even on the added expense but they may just do it for the love of it, if they had a good experience.

      Aside from the novelty of a gas-generator-driven EV, I don’t see what the Volt offers that is a better value than a Prius or any other Hybrid.

      It’s not like we’re going to run out of gas any time soon.

      My grand daughter would love to trade her 2011 Elantra for a Prius c (because it is soooooooooo cooooooooooool). Not because it is a Hybrid.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    This study is insanely flawed since most hybrids haven’t been out very long, so anybody buying another car is likely buying an additional vehicle and not a replacement. The only hybrid that’s out long enough to have meaningful replacement numbers would be the Prius and it’s retention rate is about double the other hybrids. Even those sales probably include people who own both a Prius and say, a Tundra. Really stupid to assume that just because you own a hybrid your next car purchase is a replacement for it, you buy the hybrid to commute and you can buy a sports car or truck or whatever too.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Really stupid to assume that just because you own a hybrid your next car purchase is a replacement for it”

      These types of studies typically measure loyalty and conquests against trade-ins. Your point is probably not accurate.

      The data itself is fine. The problem with the article is that it fails to provide context for the data. The Prius’ loyalty numbers are comparable to other cars that win Polk’s loyalty awards. The average of 25% for the class is probably similar to other average performers in other segments.

      In other words, loyalty for hybrids is probably on par with everything else. The class leaders have loyalty ratings of about one-third; the lesser performers, of course, are below that. The article implies that 35% is unimpressive, when that is the sort of performance that results in a trophy when it comes to other vehicle segments.

  • avatar
    Driver123

    From someone who actually drove Prius and decided not to renew. Problem is, hybrids fall into two types: a) econobox and b) sofa-on-wheels (Lexus). It’s like buying cheapest crappiest seat on an airplane for $20 less and then, in a middle of 8 hours flight wishing you’d spend $100 more and get more comfort.

    I got tired of crappy seats, cloth, road noise and got back into luxury car. Looked at Lexus GS but hybrid had really small trunk, handling was well, Lexus style and no AWD. Since I wouldn’t touch RX with a 10 foot pole, out of hybrids I went.

    If one can and wants some creature comfort and decent driving experience, hybrids are pretty much out currently. I think this is also partially why Volt does not sell. Too expensive for regular car, not enough interior quality and amenities for a luxury car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      I think you’ve nailed it. Perhaps its a design problem, but to me if you develop robust, fuel efficient hybrid system, you should design it in such a way it could be incorporated into every model without major modification to the platform. I’m puzzled by the fact Toyota doesn’t adapt it for a V6 and go all in with the hybrid platform treating as no different than an engine option as someone mentioned earlier. Pricing aside, I don’t want an ugly leftist political statement as my ride. Maybe I want a convertible, maybe I want whatever passes for a full size sedan these days, maybe I have too many children and will sell out for a minivan, or maybe I want… dare I say a sport wagon. I find it amusing Toyota’s PR machine has yet to try to convince us hybrids are the way to go an offers those choices.


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