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No Surprise Here: Compact Sedans Outsell Hybrids

Posted in auto industry, Car Buying, Hybrid, News by Kurt Ernst | June 23rd, 2011 | 2 Responses |

Hyundai's Elantra boasts 40 mpg and near-luxury fetaures for less than a Prius.

Call it the devil you know versus the devil you don’t, but new car buyers are giving the nod to compact sedans over hybrid vehicles. In July of 2009, hybrids represented 3.6 percent of new car sales, but in May of 2010, that number fell to just 1.6 percent. Some of the decline stems from short supply of the best selling Toyota Prius hybrid, but even available hybrids from manufacturers such as Ford and Hyundai failed to take up the slack.

Today’s compact sedans often come well equipped with heated leather seats, premium audio systems, navigation and other features not typically associated with “entry level” cars. Many get fuel economy approaching 40 miles per gallon, which makes them nearly as efficient as some hybrid offerings. Most significantly, their conventional drivetrains cost less to produce, meaning that even a well equipped compact sedan typically sells for thousands less than a hybrid would.

It’s too early to call the hybrid segment dead, especially since manufacturers will be launching more hybrid vehicles in the coming years than ever before. It will be interesting to see how the segment bounces back once the Toyota Prius regains general availability; unless sales take a step upward, manufacturers may have a hard time convincing customers that hybrid alternatives are worth the price of admission.

Source: Left Lane News

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2 Responses

  1. PFULMTL says:

    Yeah, 2012 looks to be the year of 40MPG cars.
    I have never considered a hybrid mainly because you don’t really save any money until you pay off the car because the monthy payments are more. With a economy car, you get more MPG than your last car and the payments are cheaper. Hell I would even say you could still have your sports car and a modern economy car and live comfortably.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Cost savings aside, hybrids are heavy and complex since you have two individual drive systems to deal with. Twice the components means twice the chance that something will go wrong. Two drive systems (usually centered over the front wheels) yields handling best described as sloppy.

      Never say never, but none of the hybrids on the market today are even remotely appealing to me.