KBB: Shoppers Target EVs

By Staff Writer May 12, 2021 285

Consumer shopping for electrified and fuel-cell vehicles, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles, hit new heights in the first quarter of 2021 according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book. In addition, a record percentage of shoppers considered an SUV, while shopping for traditional cars steadied and pickup trucks declined among in-market new-car shoppers. Details of these findings, brand and model rankings, and much more are featured in the recently published Kelley Blue Book Q1 2021 Brand Watch report for non-luxury vehicles.

The Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report is a consumer perception survey that also weaves in consumer shopping behavior to determine how a brand or model stacks up with its segment competitors on a dozen factors key to a consumer's buying decision. Kelley Blue Book produces a separate Brand Watch report for non-luxury and luxury brands each quarter.

“As automakers introduce more electrified vehicles in their vehicle line-up, we are seeing shopping consideration increase and ultimately sales follow,” said Vanessa Ton, senior industry intelligence manager for Kelley Blue Book. “At the same time, SUVs continue to dominate the new-vehicle marketplace. Shoppers are enticed by their comfort, safety and practical utility, and automakers are responding to increased demand by producing more and more new SUV nameplates of various sizes to meet consumer needs and desires. SUV-dominated brands like Subaru are riding the wave of SUV success, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.”

Toyota's RAV4 Hybrid remains in the top spot for sales

KBB reports 19% of all shoppers are considering an electrified vehicle. Hybrid models from Japanese brands – specifically Toyota and Honda – comprised the majority of the Top 10 most-shopped electrified vehicles list, with the Toyota RAV4 hybrid at No. 1. Q1 2021 sales of electrified vehicles grew 81% year-over-year, hitting 300,000 units for the first time.

Meanwhile, SUVs were the overall big winner for Q1 2021, including a new milestone featuring a record 67% of all shoppers considering an SUV, according to KBB. Japanese brands dominated SUV shopping, with the Honda CR-V retaining its title of most-shopped SUV and making a healthy 9% gain in consideration.

While SUVs soared, consumer consideration for traditional cars stopped freefalling, holding steady for now and being led by stalwart midsize cars like the No. 1 Honda Accord, KBB reported. Exactly a third of consumers considering a non-luxury vehicle considered a car in Q1 2021, up from 31% in Q4 2020 but well off the 37% seen one year ago in Q1 2020.

At the same time, shopping for pickup trucks has taken a breather after hitting a record high of 37% consideration in 2020, KBB reported. In Q1 2021, only 29% of all non-luxury shoppers considered a pickup truck, the lowest level since Q4 2019. The ongoing global computer chip shortage that prompted production cuts particularly affected pickups in Q1 2021, so low supply may have scared off prospective truck shoppers.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 19 May 2021 13:33