While no one can argue with the fact that the Toyota Prius is currently the #1 selling hybrid vehicle in the world, it’s been fun to watch the shift in consumer interest as it relates to all hybrid vehicles. Only a few short years ago, people doing research on hybrids were mainly looking for the Toyota Prius, followed by hybrid cars in general, with the Honda Civic hybrid a distant third.
Fast forward to 2008, and Toyota Prius is no longer the most popular hybrid “search” online, although it still ranks near the top. According to Microsoft adCenter (subscription required), the most popular hybrid vehicle search today is “Hybrid SUV”. And, since you need an account to view their monthly search statistics, here are two screenshots that show the current rankings.
Granted, there are a lot of keyword research tools online…and this is only one example. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide these kinds of statistics, and Yahoo hasn’t updated theirs in over a year. In addition, the Prius is just one model of hybrid vehicle, while hybrid cars and hybrid suv represent entire categories. Regardless, the most popular hybrid vehicle related search last month, according to MSN adCenter, was Hybrid SUV. And, for as far back as I have been following hybrid search stats, this is a first.
Which is your favorite hybrid suv? Cast your vote today and see the results of our informal poll!
So where does hybrid popularity go from here? My guess is that the Toyota Prius will remain the single most popular hybrid automobile for quite some time, and for three reasons. One, it gets the best gas mileage. Two, it is unique in the fact that it only comes in a hybrid version. Three, Toyota makes quality vehicles. And, in my opinion, the only car company that could build a hybrid vehicle to outpace the popularity of the Prius would be Honda. To do so, it too would need to be uniquely hybrid (not available in non-hybrid version), and it might also help if it was a small suv that could average over 35 miles per gallon. What do you think will happen?Most Popular Hybrid Vehicle? It’s not what you think.