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. . . yet they maintain ‘wait and see’ attitude on closing a deal

November 22, 2010

Consumers are aware of and considering hybrid vehicles, but they may not be ‘sold’ just yet due to the additional costs associated with the technology, according to a study by the Polk Center for Automotive Studies.

 

The inaugural public opinion poll from the new division of R. L. Polk & Co. focused on regional and national attitudes and public awareness of hybrid technology in passenger vehicles and possible factors contributing to the adoption and success of this highly-monitored segment in the U.S. auto industry. 

"We’re seeing some pretty interesting dynamics regarding the whole hybrid vehicle agenda," said Lonnie Miller of Polk. "Input from our recent work shows that more than 97 percent of those we spoke to have heard of a ‘hybrid’ vehicle. This indicates the industry is doing a great job of getting the word out about this offering in cars and trucks." In addition, 78 percent of those surveyed say they would consider buying a hybrid. 

However, dollars and cents are purchasing factors. Sixty-one percent of those who never owned a hybrid vehicle indicate that the mere cost to buy this type of vehicle could be a deterrent to them. Further, nearly 30 percent of respondents believe benefits they would receive from this type of vehicle would not justify the extra investment.

 

With the premium for a hybrid $4,000 to $9,000 more than a traditionally powered counterpart, selling the added benefits will be crucial. "We see the general desire for these types of vehicles growing," said Polk’s Jeff Martini. "However, the compelling argument to actually buy one has to be made more strongly as automakers introduce additional models equipped with this type of technology.

 

"It’s still a ‘wait and see’ game out there, so with additional launches planned by several OEMs, it’s only going to help the ability to prove the value of owning a hybrid vehicle." 

Polk’s study also found that nearly two-thirds of participants do not agree that hybrid vehicles are a fad.

 

"This is a good indicator of the market taking automakers seriously as the industry continues to test, improve and launch vehicles with dual sources of power generation," said Miller. 

Brand Presence

 

When asked to identify which manufacturers people believe currently sell a hybrid car or truck today in the U.S., Honda, Toyota and Ford were the three top mentions, respectively. Of those answering, Honda received almost 58 percent recognition, while Toyota received 46 percent of the mentions, followed by Ford receiving 27 percent.

 

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