4 Out of 5 Lincoln MKX Buyers Cannot Do Math

I am not exactly a Hybrid kinda of guy — horsepower and handling are more my thing. And, hybrids cost extra — so much, in fact, that Hybrids take anywhere from 7-12 years to recoup the additional purchase costs and pay for themselves.

But, if I was given an option of getting the hybrid version of any car I was considering at the same exact price as the conventional gasoline version, of course I would take it.

So perhaps some behavioral economist can explain this to me:

NYT article to me:

“It’s a given that hybrids cost more than the equivalent gasoline-only models — a gap justified, automakers say, by the added cost and complexity of hybrid-drive systems. But because hybrid mechanicals are often bundled with upscale features, the difference can amount to many thousands of dollars.

For that reason, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid stands out, offering a value proposition that is unique in the auto industry: a hybrid with the same price as its conventional gasoline counterpart.

By contrast, another product from the same company, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, carries a premium of $8,750 over a base Fusion; a Toyota Camry Hybrid is nearly $7,000 more than a base Camry . . .

Lincoln’s strategy seems to be working. About 20 percent of 2011 MKZ sales have been hybrids, compared with a forecast of about 15 percent. (In the Los Angeles region, the percentage is 44 percent; in the San Francisco area, it is an astonishing 66 percent.)”

So my question: Why isn’t this much closer to 100%? Why wouldn’t someone (even a Horsepower freak like me) take the hybrid at no additional charge?

How can basic economics — you know, that Humans are rational, self motivated, economic-decision makers — explain this behavior?


Upwardly Mobile Hybrids: Splurging While Saving Gas
NYT, July 22, 2011  

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