The poll, conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, shows 72% of buyers were interested in hybrid cars before being told of the added initial cost. Once they were given a figure of $5,000 over the cost of a similar non-hybrid car, however, only 46% of respondents were still behind the partially-electric cars, reports Automotive News. The results are somewhat surprising, as earlier studies have shown that as fuel prices rise, the period for recovery of the price premium placed on hybrid cars shortens. Perhaps the J.D. Power survey results best illustrate the gap between American car buyers' perceptions and the realities of the long-term costs of car ownership.
The survey was taken to evaluate the importance of a range of technological advancements in cars and their effect on buyer perceptions of desirability. One primary trend noted by the poll was the increase in popularity of information and entertainment systems as buyers that grew up in the nascent computer era come of age and begin buying cars. A marked shift from a focus on safety features in past years occurred in this year's results, mostly among the 30-years-and-younger crowd. The same market forces are pushing more advanced features into less expensive cars as well in an effort to capture the younger market.