Patt Morrison for April 16, 2012

Will hybrid owners keep coming back for more? Study says no

Toyota Issues Prius Recall Over Cooling Pump Issue

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Brand new Toyota Prius hybrids sit on the sales lot at City Toyota on November 30, 2010 in Daly City, California.

Not loyal to your hybrid? With gas prices surging towards $5 a gallon, hybrid vehicles are marketed as environmentally and fiscally responsible alternatives to standard vehicles. Yet according to a new study by automobile data and marketing solutions firm Polk, two-thirds of hybrid vehicle owners in the United States are unlikely to buy another one.

The study says only 35 percent of hybrid owners chose to purchase one again in 2011, despite the number of models having more than doubled since 2007. However, owners have been loyal to brands, with 60 percent of Toyota hybrid owners buying another Toyota last year, compared to 41 percent of those Prius owners buying another hybrid brand. More and more non-hybrid vehicles are getting better fuel economy, broadening the scope for solutions to the gas squeeze.

WEIGH IN:

If you’re a hybrid owner, do you plan to buy another one, or are you willing to forsake hybrid loyalty for a standard vehicle?

Hybrid owners have also been seen as having a dash of smugness in their social status, as expressed in a sassy 2006 episode of “South Park,” where one character drives his hybrid car around town boasting about it.

Are hybrids overrated, or still a great future-forward option as gas prices peak? Are hybrid owners themselves unfairly portrayed?

Guest:

Brad Smith, director, loyalty management practice, Polk

Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst, Edmunds.com

Sasha Strauss, managing director, founder, Innovation Protocol; professor, USC Marshall School of Business


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