New car buyers: diesels, yes, hybrids, hmm...

The J.D. Power and Associates Alternative Powertrain Study has found that hybrid consideration among new car buyers is slipping, albeit only slightly. At the same time, the willingness to consider a clean diesel is growing. Overall, 7% fewer buyers are adding a hybrid to their list of potentials, but in the 16-25 age group the drop is actually 13%. For some reason, the hybrid message is getting lost on the people just entering the car buying market. One possible reason could be that, according to the study, buyers wanted to pay no more than $2,396 extra for a hybrid over a traditional competitor, but get 18.5 mpg more. As those shoppers have discovered that hybrids can't provide that cost/benefit ratio yet, they are perhaps staying with the standard option. It's not much different in the diesel category, with folks willing to pay $1,491 and expecting 15 mpg better. However, the perceived benefit of diesels is opposite that of hybrids -- hybrids could be coming down off the pedestal, while more people are realizing that diesels are fuel efficient and, finally, clean.

[Source: J.D. Power and Associates]

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