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Millennials Want Hybrids – But May Not Buy Them

Challenges targeting newest generation of buyers.

by on Jan.20, 2012

Chevrolet is testing the interest of Millennial buyers in a pair of concepts, including the Tru 140S.

There’s a big gap between what people say they want and what they’ll actually spend their money on, as automakers are well aware of.  So, the industry is taking a cautious view of a new study by consulting firm Deloitte that finds six of 10 Millennials would like to buy a hybrid or electric vehicles rather than a conventionally powered car, truck or crossover.

That would suggest that manufacturers are positioning themselves well for the wave of young buyers just now entering the market – also known as Gen-Y, the Millennials comprise a cohort of almost 80 million Americans, a group even bigger than the vaunted Baby Boomers that reshaped America over the last half century or so.  Virtually every maker on the market is now offering at least one gas-electric model in its line-up, with an assortment of conventional hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, to follow.

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But young drivers aren’t the only ones who say they want to go with the latest, battery-based green technologies.  Some other recent surveys have found that even older Americans routinely say they plan to “consider” a hybrid next time they shop for a new car.  It’s just that those battery-based vehicles usually don’t make the cut, in the end.  Last year, hybrids actually slipped as a percentage of the overall U.S. market to barely 2%.  Total sales of all battery-based vehicles barely matched demand for the Honda Accord.