Study Says Hybrid Owners Probably Won't Be Back For Another Car

Hybrid cars have earned some admirers, but it turns out once customers buy an electric-gas model, they’re unlikely to come back for another one when it’s time to purchase a new car, according to a new study.

As gas prices go higher, so do sales of hybrid vehicles. But a recent study by automative research company R.L. Polk says that almost two-thirds of hybrid owners won’t stay on the gas-electric path when they need a new car.

Only 35% of hybrid owners returned at trade-in time in 2011, with the most loyal customers belonging to the Toyota Prius, says CBS News. If you take that car from the equation, the repurchase rate is below 25%.

“Having a hybrid in the product lineup can certainly give a brand a competitive ege when it comes to attracting new customers,” says 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.”

When fuel prices spiked at the end of last year, so did the repurchase rate for hybrid owners — up to 40% from 31% earlier during more stable gas price times. But still, hybrids only account for 2.4% of the new car market in the country.

The low rate of return customers could be due to the various fuel-efficient models out there that might not be hybrids, but do provide drivers with a pretty good bang for their gas bucks.

Study: Hybrid car owners unlikely to buy another [CBS News]