Hybrid Surge Fails to Rally The Troops
We've reported here about the huge surge in Toyota Prius sales over the last few months. In contrast, the number crunchers over at JD Power report that U.S. consumer interest in hybrid-powered automobiles has begun to fade. According to their second annual Alternative Powertrain Study, half of all new-vehicle shoppers polled (4k) are considering a hybrid. That's down from 57 percent of shoppers polled in their 2006 survey. Mike Marshall, director of JD's automotive emerging technologies unit, attributes the drop to the discrepency between inflated expectations and reality: "In the 2006 study, we found consumers often overestimated the fuel efficiency of hybrid-electric vehicles, and the decrease in consideration of hybrids in 2007 may be a result of their more realistic understanding of the actual fuel economy capabilities." In other words, the new EPA fuel economy calculations have hit hybrids hard.
More by Robert Farago