Americans are not willing to sacrifice performance and features for better fuel economy according to a survey of Internet car shoppers by the online car buying service, Autobytel, Inc.
Ninety percent of the customers surveyed indicated a willingness to consider buying a hybrid vehicle for their next purchase — provided the vehicle is comparative in make and model to the vehicle they currently drive.
In the study, 46% of men and 36% of women cite confidence the vehicle will perform comparably to an all-gasoline vehicle as the most important factor. Meanwhile, the ability to get the model, styling and features they want in a hybrid version is most important to 49% of women and 35% of men.
Only 10% of the customers surveyed said they would accept a differently styled or sized vehicle, and only 16% are willing to compromise on performance features, such as horsepower and acceleration.
Price, however, is one area customers are willing to compromise. When consumers were asked what they would be most willing to give up for the better fuel economy of a hybrid, 45% of consumers indicated they would be willing to pay $1,000 to $2,000 or more-for the hybrid version.
However, only a very small minority of respondents — 9% of women and 13% of men — indicate that a tax credit (of $1,500 or more) would most influence them to buy a hybrid.
Another key finding is that most online car shoppers are simply uninformed about hybrids, with 44% of women indicating that they were “not very informed,” or having heard the term “hybrid” for the first time when taking the survey, with 31% of men in that same category. In fact, only 9% of women and 18% of men define themselves as “very informed” on the issue. The lack of information is so inhibiting that, for women shoppers, simply not knowing enough about hybrids is the #1 reason cited for not purchasing one.