Prius owners are trading into electric vehicles

Chevrolet Volt. The most traded-in car for the Volt is the Toyota Prius.
One reason why auto companies are rolling out comparatively low-volume electric cars is to get buyers into showrooms they might have otherwise ignored.

The strategy appears to be working for Chevrolet, which makes the Volt plug-in hybrid sedan and Nissan, manufacturer of the all-electric Leaf.

Through the first nine months of this year, Chevrolet has sold about 3,895 Volts and Nissan has sold about 7,199 Leafs, according to Autodata Corp.

“The true value of these launches is the buzz, the conversation on social media and total media attention,” said Barbara Keys, a consultant with auto information company R.L. Polk & Co., which has examined who is buying the cars.

Through the first half of this year, about 78% of Volt buyers didn't own a Chevrolet at the time of the purchase, Keys said. 

That means that the Volt is bringing customers of other brands at almost twice the rate of the rest of Chevrolet, where about 43% of buyers are so-called “conquests.”

General Motors, which owns the Chevrolet brand, has provided some more interesting Volt data for sales so far this year.  About 37% of Volt buyers are California residents.  And the most frequent car traded in for a Volt is the Toyota Prius hybrid.  It is the car traded in 7% of all Volt sales. 

German cars also were comparatively frequent trade-ins.  The BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 and the Volkswagen Jetta were traded in for a combined 6% of Volt sales, GM said.

The Leaf has a similar trend line for conquests, according to Polk.  About 90% of Leaf buyers didn't

Autos Electric vehicles Jerry Hirsch
10/19/2011 09:13

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