Hybrid vehicles are all the rage these days. No doubt about that. It's very easy to market them - they're affordable, they get great gas mileage, and they have incredible safety records. But when it comes to actually driving day-to-day with one of these cars, do customers feel like it lived up to the hype? Apparently only about 35% of them do. And as a matter of fact, if you look at non-Prius customers, that number drops to 25%.
So what we can make of that is the Prius is doing better than the average, but given the high ratio of Priuses in the hybrid market, it's not pumping up the number as much as it could. According to Polk, in 2011, 60% of Toyota hybrid owners returned to the market to purchase a gasoline-powered Toyota. "The repurchase rates of hybrid vehicles are an indication that consumers are continuing to seek alternative solutions to high fuel prices," said Pole Loyalty Management Practice director Brad Smith.
Keeping things in perspective, hybrid vehicles account for just 2.4% of all new vehicles purchases in the US. But that's down, from 2.9% in 2008. That is in spite of the fact that during the same period, gas prices rose from under $2 per gallon to nearly $4 per gallon. The moral of the story? People will pay more money if it means they have a better, cooler, and more enjoyable car. Cars are, after all, luxury items.