Is the hybrid’s battery half-full or half-empty? Nationwide, the number of new hybrids registered last year rose 28 percent last year, to 254,545. That ought to encourage environmentalists and hybrid manufacturers alike – unless they also consider the fact that the pace of growth actually slowed in 2006, to the second-lowest year-over-year increase since 2000.
"Consumers know that hybrids are important to the environment, but they are not the only option," said Lonnie Miller, director of Industry Analysis for R. L. Polk & Co., a Detroit-based firm that tracks automotive registrations. "Automakers still have obstacles to overcome to prove the merit of owning a hybrid,” added Miller, noting that many potential customers are “risk-averse…toward the relatively new-to-market technology.”
Since the launch of the Honda Insight, the first hybrid-electric vehicle sold in the
Of all the hybrids registered last year, Polk data show that
Hybrid buyers are an intensely loyal group, according to Polk research. A study of 700 owners by the
That echoes another new study, by a German market research firm, finding that buyers around the world see hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles as the automotive technologies of the future. Of the 3500 car buyers in the
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