The study, which sifts through shopper behavior patterns on Kbb.com, says 42% of auto shoppers are holding off on purchase. And 30% of new-vehicle shoppers on Kbb.com say gas prices have either changed their minds or made them consider cars they normally would not have considered, specifically hybrids.
The online shopping and research site says consumer awareness of hybrid vehicles has reached 97% with 63% of new-car shoppers saying they are interested in hybrids. The model most researched by new-car shoppers is The Honda Civic Hybrid, with 37% of shoppers looking at the vehicle. Second are Toyota Camry Hybrid and Toyota Prius, which 32% of shoppers in the study considered.
Jason Allan, online content editor for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com, says that the hybrid car responses were based on the question, "Which of the following hybrid vehicles would you consider for your next purchase/lease?" Besides the Prius, and hybrid Camry, other options listed under the question were Ford Escape Hybrid, Lexus GS450h, Lexus RX400h, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Saturn Vue Hybrid, Saturn Aura Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and then also the option for "none of the above.
"It's hard to say that reflects actual shopping behavior," says Allan. "But the Civic is getting so much play overall, and has been selling like hotcakes, so that will reflect and help hybrid sales."
According to Kbb.com, most of the consumers who have answered the above question over the past six months have said the hybrid Civic is the hybrid they would consider next. The Hybrid Camry was second-most cited vehicle, and the Prius third-most cited.
He says SUV consideration between October 2007 and now has gone from 38% to 27%. The reason that drop isn't a lot bigger is that the SUV category represents traditional SUVs and crossovers, based on car platforms. "And there are still so many people who need three rows of seats," says Allan.