Sixty-Five Percent Of Hybrid Owners Not Returning Customers
April 11, 2012

Sixty-Five Percent Of Hybrid Owners Not Returning Customers

According to an analysis by Polk, 65 percent of previous hybrid vehicle owners chose to ditch the eco-friendly cars when purchasing a new automobile in 2011.

Polk found that 35 percent of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when returning back to the market.

Also, if Toyota Prius owners were not factored in, those who chose to remain loyal to hybrid vehicles drops to under 25 percent.

Polk said 60 percent of Toyota hybrid owners returned to the market to purchase another Toyota in 2011, while 41 percent of them purchased another hybrid from any brand.

According to the analysis, over 52 percent of Honda hybrid owners stayed with the Honda brand, while just under 20 percent of the same group bought another hybrid vehicle from any brand.

"Having a hybrid in the product lineup can certainly give a brand a competitive edge when it comes to attracting new customers," Brad Smith, director of Polk's Loyalty Management Practice, said in a press release. "The repurchase rates of hybrid vehicles are an indication that consumers are continuing to seek alternative solutions to high fuel prices."

Polk said hybrid vehicles represent just 2.4 percent of the overall new vehicle market in the U.S., which is down from a high of 2.9 percent in 2008.

"The lineup of alternate drive vehicles and their premium price points just aren't appealing enough to consumers to give the segment the momentum it once anticipated, especially given the growing strength of fuel economy among compact and midsize competitors,” Lacey Plache, chief economist, said in a press release

"For EVs and PHEVs in particular, certain obstacles -- including consumer unease with unfamiliar technology and the lack of an adequate recharging infrastructure -- will need to be overcome before sales increase."

The price of fuel, whether low or high, had little impact on hybrid segment loyalty between 2008 and 2011.

Polk found that consumers in traditional eco-friendly markets in the U.S. are no more loyal to hybrid vehicles than the rest of the nation.