Fewer Hybrid Owners Would Buy another Hybrid to Replace It
OK, this is data from the good old USA, but as we all know, hybrids were very much the thing to be seen in on the other side of the pond, if you were trying to demonstrate just how caring and how concerned you are about taking care of our planet.
So it’s surprising that research from well respected the automotive consulting firm “R.L. Polk & Co” has revealed the only around 35% of current hybrid owners who replaced their cars during 2011, actually bought another hybrid.
Toyota Prius owners are traditionally super loyal to both the brand and the car and continue to be so and when you factor them out of this figure, it actually reveals an even worse future for hybrids as owners of hybrids other than Toyota actually only replaced hybrid for hybrid in 25% of cases.
This is pretty weird as the number of different hybrids being offered by car makers continues to grow, so naturally, you might expect the numbers of owners to grow with this and that this growth would have been lead by existing hybrid owners, because “of all people” they should have first hand experience of the benefits of a hybrid. The fact that existing owners of hybrids are walking away, clearly indicates they believe the benefits they get, are just not enough.
The research in the States, suggests it’s hard to come up with a reason for this but clearly, repeat buyers would have a hybrid trade-in to unload and maybe it’s something to do with trade-in values not being so good and looking at figures here in the UK, fact is that a very similar priced (when new) BMW 3 series diesel, will make on average around a third more in hard cash terms (£10,000 vs £7,500) than even the best of the bunch Prius when you come to sell it at 3 years time.
Maybe it’s the fact that these things simply are not as good as the car makers tell you they are and maybe car buyer has rumbled this and seen through the hype, because we have tested both the Honda offerings and the Toyota Prius and frankly, cant achieve anything like the manufacturers claims in terms of economy. Even dramatically changing the way I drive on my regular everyday commute, we didn’t come close.
Maybe however and more likely, it’s the fact that ordinary “non-hybrid” cars are so good these days. Price wise, they are usually cheaper than the hybrid alternative and they normally make more when you sell them second hand. The Co2 emission figures in some cases are lower than 100g/km and the MPG, even for big saloon cars can easily be as high as 60MPG and more and of course, you’ve not got to drive it like a vicar on the way to a funeral to make it work.
So, interesting data from the USA and you’ve got to ask yourself what the future for Hybrids over here is. For sure, if you use the London Congestion Charge Zone every day, cars like the Prius will save you money, but for the vast majority of us that don’t, its advantage lost. In one of our hybrid road test reports, we described the car we were testing as a “broken pencil” which, as we all know, means “pointless” and whilst maybe that’s a touch hard, for us, it’s pretty close!