Jun 15, 2013
Elizabeth Puckett
Comments Off on Even Though Incentives Are Attractive, Very Few Green Cars Are Actually Being Bought in the U.S.

Even Though Incentives Are Attractive, Very Few Green Cars Are Actually Being Bought in the U.S.

Green showrooms and free charging stations are gaining the interest of certain dealerships for eco cars, like plug-in hybrids and electric cars—but those incentives are failing to make the grade. New car sales professionals are reporting that very few hybrids and electric cars are actually being bought by drivers in this country.Even with the rising cost of gasoline, professional analysts and automobile dealerships aren’t expecting any major jump in sales in the foreseeable future. Many makers have even reduced the MSRP of these vehicles and dealerships are trying to draw crowds with cheaper lease programs on electric vehicles.

With more hybrid models and electric cars set to debut by the end of 2013, automakers are increasing discounts on their current green models. GM recently announced a pricing incentive on its Chevrolet Volt because sales remained so low during last month. They also launched the Chevy Spark EV at a much lower MSRP than initially projected. Likewise, Nissan cut the price of its Leaf EV by over $6,000, which did have a positive effects on sales.

What’s holding back the sales of these vehicles? Many think it’s just a matter of getting people to try EVs & hybrids. Consumers worry about not being able to find charging stations or operating certain functions unique to these vehicles; salesmen seem to lack the interest to take the extra effort selling hybrid or EV requires. Educating consumers on EV and hybrid models takes more time than gasoline cars and the commission isn’t great with prices having to be cut so deep just to make the sale.

While some green auto industry trackers, like HybridCars.com, are reporting that sales and demand of plug-in electric vehicles are on the rise when you look at the numbers on a longer timeline, sales in May weren’t exactly impressive. There has been a major increase compared to sales during May 2012, but that is likely because of the rise in availability of the vehicles themselves. The latest data shows that these vehicles still count for only a measly half of a percent of the total auto industry sales in the United States. Hybrids trail with a 16% gain since last year and account for a slightly larger percent of U.S. auto sales, around 3.3% in May of 2013.

Consumers will likely come around, eventually, once they start feeling more comfortable with EV models and hybrids—it’s probably just a matter of becoming more familiar these models. Hopefully the fear of the unknown won’t drive these models into an early grave before they’ve had their moment in the industry.