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updated: 4/22/2013 11:36 AM

Area study: Hybrid vehicle market grew 41 percent in 2 years

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A recent analysis by Experian Automotive of Schaumburg showed that market share of hybrid vehicles has increased by 40.9 percent since 2011, going from 2.2 percent in 2011 to 3.1 percent in 2012.

While hybrid vehicles still only make up slightly more than 1 percent of the total vehicles in operation, the segment has witnessed steady market share growth over the past several quarters.

As part of the analysis, Experian Automotive also reviewed some of the financial attributes of hybrid vehicle loans. The study found that overall, consumers purchasing a hybrid have significantly higher credit scores than those purchasing another type of new vehicle. The average credit score for a loan on a new hybrid was 790 compared with the national average credit score of 755 for a loan on any new vehicle.

"Hybrid vehicle owners have long been perceived as environmentally conscience consumers," said Melinda Zabritski, Experian's director of automotive credit. "While they may have made the vehicle purchase due to caring for the environment, our research shows that hybrid owners are economically minded as well. Hybrid owners tend to have outstanding credit histories, which also has enabled them to obtain financing at lower rates than typical consumers."

The study also showed that the average amount financed on a hybrid vehicle was $25,807 and the average monthly payment was $461. Additionally, the average interest rate for a new hybrid vehicle loan was 3.51 percent.

Other findings on hybrid vehicle financing:

• In 2012, 3.1 percent of all vehicles financed were hybrids, up from 2.3 percent in 2009 and 1.5 percent in 2006

• The lease/loan ratio in 2012 for hybrid vehicles was 21.4 percent lease and 78.6 percent loan

• The top 10 financed new hybrid vehicles were Toyota Prius, 37.2 percent; Toyota Camry, 8.9 percent; Toyota Prius V, 8.6 percent; Toyota Prius C, 8.1 percent; Chevrolet Volt, 6.3 percent; Hyundai Sonata 4.8 percent; Lexus CT 200h, 4.2 percent; Kia Optima, 2.7 percent; Nissan Leaf, 2.7 percent; and Lexus RX 450h, 2.3 percent.

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