Fleet News

Residual value blow for hybrids

LOW residual values on revolutionary electric hybrid cars from Honda and Toyota are being predicted by CAP Motor Research and Glass's Information Services. Fleets are likely to be the major buyers of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius when they go on sale on September 1 and in the autumn respectively. Both manufacturers are predicting low sales volumes - Honda about 200 units a year and Toyota up to 1,000 – but residual value experts are questioning who will buy the vehicles secondhand.

CAP has privately calculated predicted RVs and questioned the service cost implications of the vehicle at three-years/60,000-miles. CAP national research manager Martin Ward said: 'Resale of the vehicles must be very carefully managed. Hybrid technology is a good idea but it is a step into the unknown. We are not forecasting high RVs.'

Glass's Guide chief car editor Adrian Rushmore said: 'It is the first foray for any manufacturer into this market so there is considerable uncertainty about the long-term future of hybrid cars because everyone will look at their capital cost compared to conventional cars,' he said.

Both companies declined to reveal their predictions but FNN understands they would be around the low to mid 20% of cost new at three-years/60,000-miles.

Powershift has announced it will give a £1,000 subsidy to buyers of the £17,000 Insight and it is expected a similar subsidy on the £18,000 Prius will be announced in the near future.

Nicholas Phillips, Honda's head of corporate sales - cars, said: 'CAP and Glass's are entitled to their views but we believe in three years' time it will be a completely different matter. By then the technology will not be as new as it is today, it will be much more acceptable and residual values will not be an issue.'

A Honda spokesman added that the Insight was expected to last a long time and batteries were not expected to be replaced for ten years.

A Toyota spokesman said: 'Residual values are an unknown quantity but we are hoping that given the Prius's specification and sales aspirations, residual values will be as good as on our other models.'

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