Although gasoline prices keep rising, it appears that the customers who bought hybrid vehicles in the United States and want a new car want something else besides another hybrid. According to a Polk study, almost two-thirds of U.S. hybrid buyers chose a non-hybrid car. Moreover, repurchase rate among hybrid buyers dropped to 22 percent, but the big surprise is that the Toyota Prius owners are excluded.
Back in 2009, the loyalty rate for hybrids was 41.8 percent, while in 2010 this was 41.8 percent and 35 percent in 2011. Still, there are good news for the carmakers that invested heavily into developing hybrid vehicles, as these cars attract new buyers to the brand and may also help them to retain them. A good example is Toyota, which expanded its Prius line to three body styles and earlier this year introduced a plug-in version.
According to Polk, back in 2011, 60 percent of Prius owners back in the market bought a Toyota brand vehicle. Honda is far away as 52 percent of hybrid owners stayed with the brand but less than one in five bought another hybrid from any brand.
The big problem for hybrid carmakers is that other manufacturers are developing non-hybrid vehicles that need less fuel to cover the same distance. As a result, the hybrid U.S. auto sales dropped 2.4 percent in 2011, down from 2.9 percent in 2010.