More Consumers Swayed by Hybrid Auto Marketing

Hybrid cars appear to be overcoming their image problem. Hybrids have captured about 2.4% of the total new car market. And while only 25% of current hybrid owners, excluding the Toyota Prius, say they’ll buy another, a  just-​released survey shows a growing interest in this class of automobile.

The most significant trend revealed by the new Harris Interactive poll shows that 23% of all consumers are more interested in hybrid cars than they were a year ago. Younger consumers, those between the ages of 18 and 35, indicate the greatest increase in interest, 32%. In addition, more men, 26%, than women, 20%, say they’ve been paying more attention to the hybrid class of autos lately.

When asked specifically about purchase intentions, 26% are likely to purchase a hybrid gas/​electric vehicle and another 9% say they are likely to go all electric. The top reasons for making these purchases are:

  • Saving money on fuel 55%
  • Concern about the environment 26%
  • Want to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil 18%

While Gen Y and Gen X consumers say their hybrid interest is all about saving money on fuel, it is the Matures (age 67+) who are more likely to be concerned about the environment and want to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

Consumers say they expect to break even on the higher cost of the hybrid powertrain in less than a year as the result of buying less fuel. But even those savings are not enough to lure the majority of buyers to consider hybrid. Regarding these results, Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Automotive Solutions Consultant, Harris Interactive, says, "This survey shows that automakers are starting to win over consumer confidence in hybrid vehicles, especially with younger drivers." U.S. automakers are also under increasing scrutiny by consumers with only 24% saying their products are better than imports. Another 42% rate them as equal to imports and the balance, 35%, say imports are better than U.S. made products.

[Sources: Johnson, Bailey. Study. Hybrid car owners unlikely to buy another. Cbsnews​.com. 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 22 Aug. 2012; 1 in 4 Interested in Hybrid. harrisinteractive​.com. 8 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 Aug. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.