Demands for hybrid vehicles goes down a lot
Consumers have lost their appetite for pricey hybrids, two industry experts say, leading to a drop in used hybrid values and an oversupply of new ones.
Used hybrid values are down 23.5% since their peak last summer, says Juan Flores, director of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book. Just since the beginning of 2009, they've fallen 4.5%, while used vehicle prices overall are going up as more buyers opt for used over new.
Last summer, when gas prices topped $4 a gallon, demand for hybrid cars skyrocketed. Used hybrids were selling for as much as a new hybrid's sticker price, Flores says, and new hybrids had waiting lists and sold for well above sticker.
Now, Flores says, a one-two punch of the recession and low gas prices are hurting used hybrid sales. "The premium between a hybrid and a non-hybrid is probably not justifiable in the minds of the consumer during this recessionary period, because you're not going to make your money back," he says.
Consumers have become much more price-sensitive, Flores says, and if they can't justify the extra cost upfront of a hybrid, they won't buy one. Many new hybrid cars cost about $3,000 more than their non-hybrid equivalent. . . .
The Boston Herald had this:
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson has a problem: There are way too many Toyota Prius hybrids sitting on his car lots across America.
They stretch "as far as the eye can see," Jackson remarked at The Wall Street’s Journal ECO: nomics conference. He estimated he had some 600,000 hybrid cars "that no one wants."
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based AutoNation is the nation’s largest car dealer, operating 302 new vehicle franchises in 15 states. In the final three months of 2008, its new vehicle unit sales dropped nearly 40 percent.
"I’m looking for a change in consumer behavior," Jackson said. . . . .