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Hybrid Owners Quick To Jump Back To Gas

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On: Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hybrid Owners Quick To Jump Back To Gas

After paying hundreds of dollars a month (or week) at the pump, you might be thinking about ditching your gas powered vehicle and never looking back. Turns out, though, you may just look back - at least if you're like the average hybrid owner. A new study shows that hybrid owners are more likely than not to ditch gas-electric power.

On Monday, automotive research firm Polk released the results of an analysis that shows that only 35 percent of American hybrid owners came back for seconds when shopping in 2011. If you take the popular Toyota Prius out of the equation, hybrid owner loyalty drops below 25 percent. That's despite high gas prices and increasing selection of hybrids over the past several years.

Polk doesn't attempt to explain the low loyalty rate for hybrids, but we'd imagine a combination of small size, less power, improvements in small gasoline car options, and higher prices have contributed in dissuading buyers from choosing a second hybrid.

The news isn't all bad for automakers selling hybrids, though. While hybrids may not have much segment loyalty, they have contributed to brand loyalty. Last year, 60 percent of Toyota hybrid owners returned to Toyota for their next cars, while more than 52 percent did the same with Hondas.

"Having a hybrid in the product lineup can certainly give a brand a competitive edge when it comes to attracting new customers," noted Brad Smith, director of Polk's Loyalty Management Practice. "The repurchase rates of hybrid vehicles are an indication that consumers are continuing to seek alternative solutions to high fuel prices."


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