Interest in Hybrid Cars the Same, But Not When Money is Involved

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
interest in hybrid cars the same but not when money is involved

Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 on the hoods of those cars, Automotive News is reporting.

According to a Harris Poll, 48 percent of polled Americans say they would consider a hybrid vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car, which is roughly the same number of people who said so in 2013. Interest in electric and plug-in hybrid cars was up slightly to 21 and 29 percent of respondents, respectively.

Getting people to pull the trigger on that purchase, it seems, is still a matter of dangling a tangible benefit — fuel economy and environmental benefit may still not be enough.

Jeff Aiosa, who owns a Mercedes dealership in New London, Connecticut, said his electrified B-Class cars weren’t going anywhere until that state started offering money directly to consumers to buy one.

“We weren’t selling them heavily before,” Aiosa told Automotive News. “The program certainly created some amped-up demand.”

Connecticut is offering money off the cars directly from a $1 million fund aimed at moving cars off lots. The state is putting up to $3,000 on the hoods of some cars, depending on battery size, to incentive purchases of hybrids and electric cars. Through July, about one-quarter of the incentive money available had been claimed.

“This is the type of program that can be a win-win-win for the state, auto manufacturers, dealers and consumers,” said Leo Karl, who owns a Chevrolet dealership. Karl said he was nearly out of 2015 Volts, which qualify for $1,500 from the program, and expects that the 2016 Volt, which will qualify for $3,000, will go quickly too.

Interestingly, part of the Connecticut program allows dealers who sell the cars to keep up to $300 of the incentive.

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  • NMGOM NMGOM on Aug 23, 2015

    Aaron - - - It may be that other issues underlie the "money involved" deterrent. 1) People simply may not trust these more sophisticated, technically elaborate vehicles to hold up long term; 2) People may still have lingering "range anxiety", even with hybrids; 3) People may resent having to take these to dealers only, and know that private garages cannot do maintenance properly. So, why would I put up $40K for a Prius, if gas prices are so low as to be inconsequential, and I can get a decent pickup truck for about the same price? --- a Pickup that it is tough as nails, will last "forever", and can be fixed by Old Joe's garage down the street? Obviously most Americans agree: in 2013, pickups were three of the top-five top selling vehicles in the USA, with the other two being the Camry and the Accord. ===================

    • See 1 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Aug 24, 2015

      I'll second dal20402's comments, but add this: Hybrids don't have to be expensive. You might be able to find a $40k Prius, but really they're closer to $27-33k. I bought my 13 Optima Hybrid for $20k - that's $20,000 even, because Kia wanted to move product by reducing the price by $6k, and I talked a bit more out of them. I got mine for the price of a Forte. Ten years ago I subscribed to the 'complexity' mindset, but no more. All you do is put gas into a hybrid, and change the fluids like any other car. EVs are even simpler to own than that.

  • Mchan1 Mchan1 on Aug 24, 2015

    If hybrid prices would drop more as the technology improves, there'd probably be more sales. EV prices are just too expensive unless you have money, especially OTHER peoples' money since there are tax credits involved. Tax credits to buy vehicles should NEVER be created. Just lower the price of the related vehicles. If you want to buy a hybrid/EV car, then feel free to do so. The Main Problem... Those buyers "expect" the tax credits... so basically, other taxpayers have to Fund part of the cost of hybrid/EV purchases. Is it any wonder why many taxpayers HATE tax credits for new technology vehicles? Buy those types of vehicles with your own money but don't the rest of us to help pay for it!

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