Oyster Bay, New York – Consumer knowledge about hybrids, combined with continuing hybrid advancements, the development of indigenous battery suppliers for U.S. automakers, and an anticipated post-recession rise in fuel prices will help drive the consumer hybrid vehicle market in the coming years, according to a new report by ABI Research.

Over the last decade, the benefits and limitations of hybrid vehicle ownership have become much better understood, which led to a rapid broadening of the market. The economic crisis has resulted in hybrid sales that will show little growth in 2009 in the U.S. and Europe, but long-term growth is anticipated.

More than 550,000 consumer hybrid vehicles were sold worldwide in 2008, a small percentage of overall global vehicle sales that exceeded 60 million that year. ABI Research foresees the market for consumer hybrids driving ahead during the forecast period, surpassing 1.9 million units by 2013, despite the initial cost premium that hybrids continue to command over conventional vehicles.

“The factors that will affect the premium paid for the hybrid include total cost of ownership, and general perception of hybrid technology,” said Larry Fisher, research director of ABI Research’s NextGen research practice. “Legislative variables such as vehicle taxes, incentives, and fuel taxes will affect the total cost of ownership directly. Automakers’ choices on volume and demand, in turn, will affect initial price. Ultimately, perception plays a great role in attracting mainstream buyers to these vehicles.”

Connect with Autos.ca