The number of hybrid car buyers has grown dramatically over the last couple of years, and new analysis from Experian Automotive shows that hybrid car buyers spend less than the average car buyer, primarily due to better credit scores that get them better interest rates on their car loans.
The average amount financed by buyers of hybrid cars was $25,807, while the average buyer finances $26,691. Both buyers have near-identical monthly car payments -- $461 for hybrid buyers and $460 for the average car buyer. But hybrid car buyers spend less over the life of the loan due to a lower interest rate -- 3.51 percent for hybrid buyers versus 4.36 percent for average car buyers. And they have a slightly shorter loan term -- 61 months for the hybrid buyer versus 65 months for the average new-car buyer. The savings are largely due to hybrid car owners having better credit scores than the average new-car buyer -- 790 versus 755.
Experian noted that while the market share of hybrid cars has increased 40.9 percent since 2011, only 3.1 percent of all cars financed in 2012 were hybrid cars. Of the top 10 hybrid cars that were financed, the vast majority, 37.2 percent, were Toyota Prius cars. The Prius was followed by the Toyota Camry Hybrid with 8.9 percent, the Toyota Prius V with 8.6 percent and the Toyota Prius C with 8.1 percent.
What kind of rates have you gotten on car loans? Do you find a hybrid car enticing?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.