A recent survey by Polk shows that only 35% of hybrid owners end up buying another hybrid/electric vehicle when it’s time to shop again. Returning buyers vary when it comes to brand. 41% of former Toyota Hybrid owners purchased a new hybrid from any brand while just under 20% of former Honda Hybrid owners purchased a new hybrid from any brand. Honda’s low hybrid return rate is probably due to its small hybrid offering and the lackluster Honda Insight. Toyota has a higher return due to their many hybrid offerings and reputation. Brand loyalty is also higher, 60% for Toyota and 52% for Honda.
According to the survey, returning hybrid owners buy a new hybrid based on the market conditions and gas prices. In Q2 for 2011, just 26.4% of hybrid owners bought another hybrid while in Q4 of 2011, 40.1% returning hybrid owners bought another hybrid. It is also shown that hybrid owners cross shop non-hybrid gasoline powered vehicles, suggesting that they usually consider traditional cars over hybrids when it’s time to look for a new vehicle.
As surprising as this sounds with skyrocketing fuel prices, it makes some sense. Hybrids cost a good deal more than a conventional model, and owners soon feel the price premium after buying their hybrid. On average, it takes 7-10 years to recover the cost of buying a Hybrid in fuel savings over a conventional model. Since most people trade in their vehicle every 5-6 years, it doesn’t make sense to buy another hybrid when a person can actually save money buying a conventional car.
What do you think? Is a Hybrid worth the extra cost or not?