So they really went back to the traditional vechicle. That suggests they dropped the whole notion of an alternative vehicle. I'd love to know the reasons, whether they didn't likle the experience or whether it was a cost/benefit decision.
I agree with Beth that the fact that hybrid owners aren't making the same choice for their next car speaks volumes. But, I don't think it's disheartening.
Hybrid cars have revolutionized the market. People expect more. I had a Toyota in 2003 that got 35MPG. If I bought a hybrid today, almost 10 years later, I'd expect it to get 70MPG-double. The competition hybrids are facing from standard vehicles is a great, although small, movement towards making green technology the new standard in all price points. Green technology needs to be supported, it needs to evolve and come to the mass market.
Hybrid sales have slowly increased over the years but the article makes a good point that the operating costs are too high for the average green consumer. Once that starts to drop, we'll see more people purchase hybrids as a first, second and even third choice.
3drob; There is not much choice in the hybrid truck market. I was looking to replace my 2002 4.7 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I was looking for a hybrid that had a towing rating. I bought a used 2009 Chrysler Aspen 5.7 Hemi Two Mode Hybrid, that I found by accident - I didn't know it existed. Supposedly the Tahoe and Escalade versions of this SUV are still in production, I don't know about the X6 version. But since these are Luxury SUV's, I doubt you could justify the price on reduced gasoline costs alone.
For the most part, I think we are looking at the buyers that can afford to be curious. When I buy, I go with the tried and true because I cannot afford the surprises and risks of some new technology. A car is a huge purchase for me and Hybrids and EV's would make the purchase even bigger. If this market ever reaches a point where it can compete on true economic terms and win true customer comfidence, then a survey such as this would have much more meaning.
I believe that consumers are perhaps becoming more sophisticated when it comes to automatically accepting or rejecting what is marketed as "green" or what is marketed as being a money saver for them.
In my opinion, many of these so-called "green" products such as hybrids are marketed based on a single variable - in this case gas mileage. However when looking at the complete life-cycle picture of what went into manufacturing such a vehicle, Many of us question how "green" it actually is.
Besides - the purchase should make sense from an economic perspective - not just the emotional "green" perspective.
I think there are too many variables involved to make any valid conclulsions from this data as presented. For instance, I have a Saturn Vue Hybrid. There was a very low increased purchase price (~$1200) because it was a mild hybrid. Even though the Union of Concerned Scientists ranted against this vehicle it is a great vehicle. It's a small crossover and I love it. It has a 25% increase in fuel economy over the non hybrid. They're not available anymore. Not only that but you can't get a new crossover Hybrid. But now I can get a domestic non-Hybrid crossover with about the same fuel economy. Also, my boss just got a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. He previuosly had the regular gas model. He loves the Hybrid. He is getting over 40 MPG. I started off saying "too many variables". They are overall availability, configuration availability, difference in quality of initial hybrids, more fuel efficient non-hybrids available now, and the economy in general. If you really want to study the "popularity" of hybrids you need to do it model by model and find out all the different reasons people opted to buy another one or not. Any other generalizations made about these particular numbers just don't mean anything.
The question I have after reading the article (and maybe I just didn't see it) is whether the Hybrid owners are in the market to REPLACE their hybrid, or to get a second car. It's a bit soon in the non-Prius Hybrid market to talk about replacements, so I'd have to assume not.
If I'm replacing my Hybrid (a 2010) I'd probably buy another. My Hybrid mid-size get's better mileage and performance (yes, I want both) than the compact cars I test drove at the time of my original purchase.
If I'm replacing my 25 year old Jeep (which needs to haul and tow), I'd look at the Hybrid SUV's and trucks, but chances are I wouldn't get a Hybrid.
Good article which brought out some relevent points on hybrid perception vs. reality. I was mildly surprised that the data didn't show a stronger loyalty from those who claim to be very concerned with the environment. Also, I was expecting gas prices to impact hybrid segment loyalty more. I supposed there will be a critical threshold that gasoline prices reach where this trend will start to reverse itself.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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