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Consumers' lack of hybrid knowledge stalls financing

Jul 15, 2011 Brian Bradley

A recent survey conducted by global market research service Opinion Research Corporation revealed that when it comes to auto financing for a hybrid vehicle, American consumers still need to be educated before they buy. The poll asked more than 1,000 adults about their feelings regarding hybrid cars last month. The results indicated that a combination of high gas prices and a lack of knowledge about fuel-efficient vehicles were the largest barriers to making a purchase. When asked about different fuel-efficient vehicles, 39 percent of respondents couldn't differentiate between hybrid, Start-Stop, electric and internal combustion. "It's clear that consumers are confused about their options for more fuel-efficient vehicles, despite their desire to save on fuel costs," said Alex Molinaroli, president of Power Solutions for Johnson Controls, the company that funded the study. "These findings indicate U.S. drivers need to have a better understanding of the offerings available to them now, as well as options that will become available in the U.S. market." In addition, financing for these vehicles was also found to be an issue. A mere 20 percent of respondents were willing to consider purchasing a hybrid. CBS Interactive Business Network reports that electric and hybrid sales fell in June, down 30 percent year-over-year.