Consumers Shun Large SUV, Luxury Hybrids Due To Additional Costs
While hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid are doing well among most consumers, luxury and large SUV consumers are thumbing their nose at hybrid offerings aimed at them.
USA Today reports the additional cost of hybridization — which was a sound business case with regards to size considerations and better fuel economy only a few years before — on top of already-high prices has kept potential consumers away from the likes of the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid and Mercedes-Benz S400, both which have been cancelled as a result. Toyota itself has managed to sell only nine units of the Lexus LS600hL last month, making up just 1 percent of the 706 LS models sold overall during the period.
Despite poor sales and scrapped plans among some automakers regarding hybrid offerings in larger vehicles, Infiniti is one of a few staying the course with its QX60 full-size hybrid SUV. According to spokesman Kyle Bazemore, around 10 percent of QX60 owners have opted for the $3,000 hybrid option not only for fuel economy purposes, but for the V6-esque power.
Personally, I wouldn't buy a hybrid because of the inconvenience. Having a battery pack that limits trunk space or prevents rear seats folding down is a real drag. People shouldn't be expected to pay a hybrid premium for less utility.
I'm amazed anyone thought these would actually get bought in the first place. People who buy these enormous SUVs don't care about fuel economy, and they don't care if anyone thinks they're environmentally conscious. If they were, they wouldn't be buying one of these in the first place.
It's real simple. If you can cough up $65K+ for a Suburban, even if that Cheddar is coughed up over 72 months - you're probably not losing sleep on the price of a gallon of gas.
I think the hybrid BOF SUV didn't sell well because there were better solutions to the problem of poor SUV fuel economy. Soccer moms never really wanted an Escalade, hybrid or not. They just wanted a tall vehicle that wasn't a minivan. The CUV provides the ride height with more car-like suspension tuning. The Range Rover thoroughly and completely beats the Hybrid Escalade for status vs. price. Men with big toys like large boats want a luxury SUV as a tow vehicle. A drivetrain which reduces tow ratings is a big negative for the boat towing customer. In addition, city cycle fuel economy improvement isn't that useful for a truck so spectacularly unsuited to fitting in city parking spots.