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Hybrid fever cooling down?

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Is Hybrid Fever Cooling?
Interest wanes as mileages come down
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by Bengt Halvorson | Link to Original Article @ TCC | (2007-07-24)


Are some customers less willing to consider hybrid models once their optimistic high-mileage expectations become more realistic?

A new study from J.D. Power and Associates suggests that the answer is yes. The firm's 2007 Alternative Powertrain Study found that among all new-car shoppers polled, 50 percent considered a vehicle with a hybrid powertrain. In 2006, 57 percent said that they considered a hybrid.

J.D. Power found that hybrid-considering shoppers this year are willing to pay an extra $2396 for a vehicle with the technology, but they expect to receive an 18.5-mpg improvement in fuel economy over a similar-size non-hybrid vehicle.

The firm noted that consumer consideration for diesel vehicles has risen sharply, from 12 percent in 2006 to 23 percent in the 2007 study. Those considering diesels are willing to pay $1491 for the option and expect an improvement of 15 mpg.

The study also found that interest in hybrids may be waning especially among the youngest age group. Among those 16 to 25 years old, 60 percent considered a hybrid this year, compared with 73 percent in 2006.

"In the 2006 study, we found customers often overestimated the fuel efficiency of hybrid-electric vehicles, and the decrease in consideration of hybrids in 2007 may be a result of their more realistic understanding of the actual fuel economy capabilities," said Mike Marshall, J.D. Power's director of automotive emerging technologies, in a company release.

Over the past year, the subject of real-world fuel economy from hybrid vehicles has seen heavy coverage in the mass media, including claims by vocal hybrid owners that they aren't able to meet EPA fuel economy regulations. For instance, a group of Honda Civic Hybrid owners is suing the automaker in California for publicizing the Hybrid's fuel economy ratings of 49 city, 51 highway.

The federal government's testing method for fuel economy is widely known to result in numbers higher than those achievable in real-world driving, especially for hybrid vehicles. However a new testing and calculation method being phased in for the 2008 model year will provide a more realistic estimate, with estimates falling an average of 12 percent in the city and eight percent on the highway.

Several hybrid models have been affected far more dramatically:
Toyota Camry Hybrid - 40/38 ('07) | 33/34 ('08)
Honda Civic Hybrid - 49/51 ('07) | 40/45 ('08)
Toyota Prius - 60/51 ('07) | 48/45 ('08)
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Ouch look at the Camry and Prius drop. Might as well just get a regular Camry or Matrix and save the money. If you must have a Camry or Matrix. But uhhh I would get an Aura or a HHR.

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Hilarious, absolutely hilarious. Didn't Toyota make some claim like 100% of their fleet would be hybrid by 2015? I bet someone's rethinking that plan right now! :pokeowned:

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they are simply protecting the profit margin margin right now. if they are still desperate to be the hybrid leader, they will have to drop prices to the magic 2 grand difference or so.

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