Hybrid Cars IQP
Participant #2 ‐ Um previously I had bought a lot of crappy, used cars, so it was probably
under three years, but I did trade in my car with this purchase and when I bought my
Chevy Aveo I also traded in the car I had. And previous to that, I just drove them until
they died completely and then just gave them away for parts.
Participant #3 ‐ I would say I keep cars for average five to seven years. We’ve sold, we had
prior to, you know we’ve sold a car on our own, we have traded in, and we have done
kind of everything. But um this last one, the Subaru, we traded in for the Mazda.
Participant #4 ‐ I kind of used to keep them until they went into the ground. Umm, but it is
kind of my idea, I basically, I don’t look to upgrade my car, unless I absolutely have to
because of the terrain. I am not really in it for status or anything. I just need to move.
Participant #5 ‐ We used to have a, it’s an American made, vans that I didn’t want to go
over 100,000, so it, we wanted them longer, but we had been burned on it once, so we
avoided that. When we got the Honda, we intended to be able to go quite a ways, and a
year ago the amount of miles we had put on the car and the incentives that they were
offering for buying a new car basically we could lower our payment and get a new car
that was six years newer. It wasn’t a clunker, but we did trade it in. And there wasn’t
anything wrong with it per say, it was getting up in miles. But it was more driven by the
state of the economy and trying to help the economy by making a purchase and it
worked for us because as long as we could keep our payment the same we were willing
to do it and I think it actually saved us a few dollars.
Participant #3 ‐ I don’t know if you are going to ask this, but I would say to, it is a hard
question circumstantially why we have kept our cars. I would have kept, we have moved
every car because we had one kid and then we had two kids. So safety became a factor,
space became a factor, so I think it is just circumstances. You know? The idea with this
new one according to my husband is that we are staying in it for a long time. So, but I
think, as our lives have changed, I also used to live and work residentially, so I never
needed a car. And then I got a new job where I had to commute. So it has always been
circumstantial for us, getting a new or changing a car.
What factors go into making a decision to buy a car, hybrid or not?
How did the interior size/comfort factor affect your decision?
How does output performance (acceleration) affect your decision?
How does your lifestyle/geographic location affect your decision?
For instance, do you need a truck for towing purposes, 4WD for winter reasons?
Participant #3 ‐ The number one for us is safety, since this was the car that I was going to be
driving with both of our children. So safety was number one, without question, size and
Hybrid Cars IQP
ability to transport strollers and pack and plays and the amount of stuff that two
children under four require. We needed trunk space. So for this one with two car seats
and I have parents that are local so we are often traveling with them. That is why
finding a third row was also …we wouldn’t have bought a new car without a third row.
So we wanted to be able to have the car seats and other people come in the car, have
me get in the back seat with the kids…so it was all about functionality with being a
parent with children…so safety, functionality, and then from there probably went price,
to style, and what factors in for me honestly was the people at the car place. I won’t
buy a car from someone who I think is a jerk. There were some places that I ruled out
because I didn’t like their attitude. I was like I don’t need to give you my money, and I
left. That is way down on the list because there is always a million dealers and
dealerships if you don’t like the people. That is what I would say for me.
Participant 1 ‐ When it came down to our….the reasons why we bought another car is
because my 220,000 mile previous Audi…it was time to sell it. 220,000 miles is my limit
– not 100,000. Although seriously now we have four cars. The lowest mileage one of
any of them is 110,000. That is what my S8 has. I have with 300 and one with 200, and
one with 120, and my wife’s Audi has 120,000. But at any rate, when it came down to
my purchase, it was between three cars and I am very, very particular about what I get.
You know I’m an engineer, an automotive engineer, and I gotta have the right stuff and
so it was either gonna be an exotic, affordable car which is the Audi S8, which is
incredibly exotic. It was appealing to me because there are only 100 of them made that
were that color….300 altogether and it had the performance that I was looking for, but I
was also intrigued by small comedic cars so I came close to some others. The second car
in consideration was the super charged cooper…the little mini cooper because I had one
of those…the real one when I was in college, and the third again was the four year
Accord v6 hybrid, and they were all about the same price and the used price range that I
am doing it. The answer came down to….my wife said you’re not buying the mini
because we needed a full size car and we cannot have two small cars, and so ultimately I
said oh yeah because I wanted to buy the S8. And so I think that the performance and
exotic nature of a car really appeal to me and but one of the trips for my wife was that
we wanted something that would be comfortable for people to travel and obviously you
can’t in her two–seater or my 300,000 Fiat, our Toyota appliance that we keep.
Participant #2 ‐ Previous to this car, I just bought cars to get me from one place to another
and…but I spent most of my life living at the bottom of a hill so I could not drive up it in
the snow, so I wanted a four wheel drive car. I mostly bought this one because my
brother did all of the research. He told me that that’s the care to buy…and I did actually
leave a dealership because they were a jerk and drove all of the way to Wellesley and
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paid $2000.00 and they were the nicest people that I ever met….and so I could afford it
finally for the first time in my life.
Participant #4 ‐ I think the factors to be honest I look right at the price, to start off with,
because I know my budget, so I eliminate more cars then I try to research. Living in
Worcester and New England I’ve come to the rationalization that I’m just tired of being
the best maneuver of a two wheel drive car in the snow and hills. So I do need that
flexibility. And then I prefer to drive a standard. Only because it just feels like I am
actually driving, and it saves gas. but unfortunately my ex wife at the time couldn’t…I
was like a valet parker I would move it because she didn’t know how to drive it so one of
my motivations was to get an automatic so whoever had the car that I was behind could
just take it and leave and go to work. But that’s what it comes down to. And I am not
one of those people that goes into a dealership and is looking to barter I want to go in
and out within 2 hours and leave.
Participant #5 ‐ Again hill wise we needed a four wheel drive, that was essential. Size wise I
would have preferred something smaller but I had a small Saturn that I used for
commuting so we couldn’t get a second small car we needed something larger to be
able to haul the kids and their friends and all that around and then be able to fill it up to
get kids moved to college…try to do it in one trip. And then the price and also spent a
lot of time with consumer reports…going through checking the repair histories and the
reliability and all that…the different models.
Was there anything about hybrid’s that may have had a critical influence on you decision
making? If you were at one point looking at a hybrid was there anything that critically
influenced your decision to not get one?
Participant 1 ‐ I have a problem theoretically with hybrids and that the research shows of
course it’s just a stop gap measure. The real reason for buying them would be the tax
incentives and a few things like this because when it gets right down to it the technology
is not the way we should be encouraging people right now actually. On the other hand
the tax advantages make it significant…and so I would much rather buy something
which is a longer term look at fuel economy…certainly there are a lot better options
than hybrids, hybrids are just a stop gap so I’m not too excited about them unless they
happen to perform well and happen to give the tax incentives to make them pay off
before you end up throwing it away.
Participant #2 ‐ I did a project in a grad class where I always thought great things about
hybrids and then you realize like they never really pay off I the long run so other than
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the feel good nature of it…which in that case I would just move closer and drive it less,
which has a similar thing. And then when I want to and need to drive in the snow I
get…I can get where ever I want…so…
Participant #3 ‐ Yeah as I said I originally wanted the Toyota highlander hybrid that was my
initial thought but um A.) It ended up being too small in the middle row, I couldn’t fit
myself and two car seats and then really it just came down to price. And that there
wasn’t really another option in a hybrid that fit our needs and the cost was really the
main thing, we were just…it was just too priced out for us and as we talked about it, it
would have taken us too long to make that difference back.
Participant #4 ‐ Um, I never really looked at them. I guess to be kind of vain I thought they
looked like golf carts. Not that I care that much about it. But I got to admit…it looked
flimsy, I’ll put it that way, it didn’t look safe I guess you could say. But the other thing is,
is that I’m all pro environment but to me it kind of felt like I could just get a car that
does well on gas and I’m helping the environment…then having to use something
else…so spending less…driving less…conserving gas…is kind of the same and like she just
said it was out of my price range…beyond that…
Participant #5 ‐ Pretty much price range. We would have been prepared to buy the hybrid
highlander but just…we knew we wanted the highlander…we couldn’t afford the hybrid.
Participant 1 ‐ If you look at the highlander especially the Lexus SUV hybrid all the studies
show that is a 200,000 mile break point for cost. In fact I think on the Lexus…the
478…you never come out ahead on it…so there’s a little hype.
Alyssa‐ And my last question is does the reputation of the car’s manufacturing company affect
your decision? Like if it’s foreign or American?
Participant 1 – I definitely don’t mind. The ad that most automotive makers will spout on is you
buy American if you want the biggest and best value, you buy Japanese if you want
something which is the automobile appliance, you go there, you push a button and it goes,
push a button it stops. Then you buy German cars if you’re an engineer because the German
cars have a certain engineering exotic nature that appeals to me and so I’ll almost buy a car
in spite of the fact that it’s important and it doesn’t rate well because I don’t see eye to eye
on some of the features that are important so I think I do base reputation quite a bit about
cars and if you can afford something which meets your standards then I guess I would say I
Alyssa – I bought a Toyota because I heard they last a long time and I did buy it on the day they
stopped selling round fours as well so, mine was made in Japan, it’s all good. I had a
Hybrid Cars IQP
Volkswagen before which lasted forever and then I owned a Chevy which was only 3 years
old and it sucked. I put more money into it then I ever paid… I definitely have a bad view of
American cars after driving them.
Participant #3 – We looked at, um, we narrowed it down as the Mazda CX9 and the Chevy
Traverse and the GMC Arcadia, that’s what we narrowed it down to, and we were definitely
influenced by the fact that Mazda, we were happy with that company and we heard good
things. The problems that the companies were having like looking at GMC and looking at
Chevy, it definitely gave us some pause and with all things made equal it may not have
mattered but there were a bunch of little factors and that definitely swayed us a little bit.
We had heard good things. My father is a Mazda guy. We’re a Mazda family so we’ve had
good luck with them, we’ve all enjoyed them and we’ve heard some things going into a
GMC or going into a Chevy. When you mention it to some people they give you a (insert
negative sound) but when you go to a Mazda people go “oh I love my Mazda we’ve heard
good things and are happy with the company” and so…
Participant #5 – My father was a Dodge and Chrysler guy all the way through, and so was I. I
guess I tried to live the, support American car but I’ve come to find out the Honda engine is
made in Kentucky so… I really wasn’t too influenced too much but I guess it was just by
word of mouth, the people that I saw that owned Hondas had them for a very long time and
seemed to have no problems with them so…
Participant 1‐ The last Chrysler product that we had which was the minivan was made in
Canada and had a Japanese engine, so it’s a very good car.
Participant #4 – We had a Honda and would have preferred to have gone with the Honda SUV
but it didn’t have 4 wheel drive and prior to that all our vans had been American, and our
previous new cars had been American. We just had a used Honda Accord several years
back, but this was our first Toyota and between its ratings and all that we felt comfortable. I
don’t know how I feel about Toyota now but…
Participant 1‐ You shouldn’t worry about that. They’ll be right on top again.
Alyssa‐ Hi, I’m Alyssa.
Participant #6‐ I’m (Says name) sorry I’m late.
Alyssa‐ would you like to tell us about your car?
Participant #6‐ Yeah. In January I bought a Hyundai 2008. It came off of a lease. My wife and I
have a pop up tent trailer and I would have loved to get a hybrid but you can’t get a hybrid
that will tow a trailer, and this trailer is not a heavy trailer, it’s about 1500 pounds without
Hybrid Cars IQP
any load in it. I could have gotten a Subaru I think it’s an outback with a 6 cylinder engine
but it takes premium gas. I booked on consumer reports, I looked on Edmunds, I also read
comments on people who bought Hyundai’s and I found out that they were built in
Alabama and that made me feel better about it. We had a Ford station wagon for 8 years
and had about 137000 miles on it and it was starting to, every other month I was going into
the garage with it but up until 100,000 miles on it had been a great car and I was very
interested in the Ford Fusion but again, 4 cylinder so… this car is 6 cylinder and it also gets
very good gas mileage, not so much in the city. It gets about 18 miles to the gallon, but on
the highway I actually get over 30 miles to the gallon. The quality from that from what I’ve
read is that they’re right up there with, I wanna hesitate to say Toyota but, Toyota and
Honda and some other cars. The market hasn’t quite recognized it yet but the price on them
is a little bit lower but I think now that with the problems that Toyota are having people are
actually looking at these Hyundai’s because their quality is very good and I’ve been satisfied
with them. Again I would love to be able to buy a hybrid car if we were going to buy another
car that we weren’t going to tow I probably would have gotten a 4 cylinder and a hybrid.
Note the one question I haven’t thought of is what to tow with a Toyota Prius, if you buy it
used, what the life cycle going to like. The battery that you have there. And I think in the
next couple of years, that technology is gonna change quite a bit. I was hoping I could wait
another couple of years to buy a car but, it’s just this car was not gonna hold out for me.
Alyssa‐ Do you do a lot of driving?
Participant #6‐ Not really a lot, but enough that, you know I drive back and forth from work, it’s
about 8 to 10 miles or so but I’m driving around the state or down to Connecticut to visit
relatives and then when we go on vacation we usually drive so…
Mike‐ How much to you put on for mileage per year?
Participant #6‐ about 15000 or so.
Alyssa‐ Did you trade in your last car to get this car?
Participant #6‐ No I gave it to my son.
Mike ‐ That brought up an interesting thing. What do your cars take for gas? I know that my
WRX takes premium. I have to add 91‐93 in it, for octane.
Participant 1‐ 93
Alyssa ‐ Regular. Whatever, I’m cheep.
Participant #5 ‐ Regular
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Participant #2 ‐ Regular
Participant #4 ‐ Regular
Mike ‐ You and I take the hit.
Participant 1 ‐ I don’t drive much.
Mike ‐ I think that’s all we have. Anything else interesting facts or figures about hybrids that
anyone has? Concerns or issues?
Participant 1: I think that the whole, once we go to plug in hybrids the equation does change a
bit. Because when we don’t have to put gasoline to charge the battery through the
inefficient reciprocating engine and through inefficient generators and inefficient
transmissions when you’re actually able to use the central grid to charge your batteries
then it becomes much more attractive. But again hybrids by their nature, are never going
to be as efficient as a purely direct motivator whether it be a high tech diesel or pure
batteries, so I just… it bothers me when I personally people promoting hybrids as if they
were the last bit when it’s just a stop gate technology. Stop gap technology.
Alyssa ‐ I would agree with what Participant #1 said that I think there’s a lot of hype, and
everyone’s feeling this need and this pressure to do something but when you really look into it,
it doesn’t seem to have the results that I think you were expecting. Like you think, well I’m
gonna get a hybrid, like that was my initial thought and then I looked into it and I did the
research and looked at everything… well it’s not quite there yet, I agree. So…
Participant 1‐ It’s funny, one of the reasons why Honda said why they were unsuccessful and
dropped the Accord Hybrid was because it didn’t look hybrid enough. It looked just exactly
like a regular Honda Accord, in fact even the industry panel just had one additional extra
gauge. And yet car and driver would say it’s the only hybrid they would ever recommend
because it did get remarkable gas at 38 miles per gallon on the highway and 30 miles per
gallon in town, and yet it’s the fastest Honda ever sold, faster than the S2000 because it had
a 240 horse power V6 plus about another 130 horse power hybrid and so it was faster than
my S8, 0‐60mph.
Alyssa ‐ But then were they just not selling?
Participant 1 ‐ Nope. They dropped after 2… 3 years.
Alyssa ‐ Cause I didn’t even know they made one.
Participant 1‐ It was also the worst looking Honda accord for a long time. It didn’t improve by
doing that. And it’s funny because a lot people buy hybrids because they look like golf carts.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested