While the selection of hybrid models in the United States has more than doubled since 2007, only 35 percent of hybrid vehicle owners would choose to purchase a hybrid again, according to recent study from Southfield, MI-based Polk. And, if repurchase behavior among the high-volume audience of Toyota Prius owners isn’t factored in, hybrid loyalty drops to less than 25 percent.
However, hybrid owners appear to maintain brand loyalty when returning to the new car market. For example, in 2011, 60 percent of Toyota hybrid owners returned to purchase another Toyota, according to Polk, while 41 percent of them purchased another hybrid from any brand. In the case of Honda hybrid owners, more than 52 percent of them stayed with the Honda brand, while less than 20 percent of this same owner group bought another hybrid vehicle from any brand.
Brad Smith, director of Polk’s loyalty management practice, said that the repurchase rates of hybrid vehicles are an indication that consumers are continuing to seek alternative solutions to high fuel prices.
Surprisingly, Polk also found that consumers in traditional eco-friendly markets like Los Angeles; San Diego; Portland, OR; and Seattle were no more loyal to hybrid vehicles than the nation at large.
Hybrid vehicles represent a scant 2.4 percent of the overall U.S. new vehicle market, according to Polk. This is down from a high of 2.9 percent in 2008.