Why You Should Not Buy a Hybrid Right Now ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Why You Should Not Buy a Hybrid Right Now

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why You Should Not Buy a Hybrid Right Now

Despite the gas prices, despite the green cred, and despite the huge interest in hybrids right now, you probably should hold off on buying one, either new or used.

I know this is strange to hear from me, but it's true.

Right now just isn't the right time.

The problem is, hybrids are actually too popular. The waiting lists have returned and dealers can charge, almost, whatever they want for them. And still the turn rate for some of the hybrid models 'available' right now are incredibly low.

The days to turn a Prius is sitting at 4 days (Source: PIN Insights, a division of JD Powers. Link is pdf). That mean the average Prius is sitting on a dealers lot for a total of 4 days. That's incredibly low. The Honda Civic Hybrid has a turn rate of 10 days, the Toyota Camry Hybrid sits on the lot for 15 days and the Ford Escape Hybrid is in your Ford dealership for 22 days.

To give you a little bit of perspective, the average days to turn is 57 days. Which means a 4 day turn rate indicates the Prius is already sold before it gets to the dealership. Which means the dealership has the upper hand right now. If you try to negotiate, they can walk away from you. That's not a good place for you, the buyer, to be.

And because of the incredible demand on new hybrids, the same sort of upwards pressure is being applied to used hybrids on the market. You can get your hands on a used Prius, but you're probably going to have to pay new car prices.

That's great if you have a used hybrid to sell.

Limited Inventory is the Problem

In case you're wondering, the problem is limited inventory. Despite being one of the top ten most popular cars in the US, Toyota can't produce enough Prius to drop that turn rate. Ford has limited the numbers of hybrids they are going to sell until they can make money off of them. The same goes for the other car makers.

Each of the car makers set out to make so many hybrids this year and that number is not going to be increased for a little while. That puts a limit on the number of parts (batteries, for instance) available right now.

The Solution is Time

The huge upsurge in interest in hybrid cars is going to go back down. It won't crash, but it will dissipate as people realize how much they have to pay just to get their hands on a hybrid car right now. As the interest relaxes, inventories will go back up. So will production as the automakers increase their part orders and start signing off on building more.

Remember, last year Toyota was offering incentives on hybrids to clear out inventory.

So you may want to hold off for a while. It won't be that long until you won't have to pay thousands more than MSRP just to own a Prius.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com


Anonymous said...

Yes seriously..I agree. Let all the idiots and fools run out and buy them. I'll sit back and wait for the newer stuff and not get a big stick up the wazoo by the dealers.

Seriously...how dumb are people these days? Have they gotten MORE stupid or were they always this dumb?

Anonymous said...

After waiting for a Camry Hybrid for 7 weeks we were told that they do not know how many...months the wait will be!

Mike said...

That's awful. I'm sorry to hear that. The Camry Hybrid is a pretty nice vehicle and you'll enjoy it once you get it.

Anonymous said...


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