Used Hybrids Source of Sales and Maintenance Services for Dealers

by Jon LeSage


  • Hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles have been on US roads since 1999 with release of Hon­da Insight, then Toy­ota Prius in 2000 fol­lowed by Hon­da Civic Hybrid in 2002.
  • In 2000s, a lot more mod­els fol­lowed from Toy­ota, Lexus, Ford, and oth­er automak­ers and in recent years have been mak­ing up about 3% of new vehi­cle sales in US.
  • green car edi­tor John O’Dell says more than two mil­lion con­ven­tion­al hybrids have been sold since ear­ly 2000s and esti­mat­ed 415K used hybrids on mar­ket now.
  • There’s a grow­ing need for ser­vice cen­ters that can main­tain hybrids, which does require ser­vice tech­ni­cians with spe­cif­ic train­ing and skill sets.
  • It’s also becom­ing an impor­tant used car niche for deal­ers to stock up and remar­ket – while their used car prices can drop with gaso­line prices, they’re still a great prod­uct to offer.


  • For ser­vic­ing, impor­tant to have knowl­edge­able mechan­ic inspect vehi­cle – with knowl­edge being crit­i­cal as these cars employ some com­plex tech­nol­o­gy.
  • Auto Career Devel­op­ment Cen­ter has become good source and lists qual­i­fied hybrid repair shops.
  • Their brak­ing sys­tems, some­times regen­er­a­tive brak­ing, usu­al­ly last longer than con­ven­tion­al brak­ing.
  • But impor­tant to have main­te­nance records to see if fre­quent brake jobs have been done, indi­cat­ing hard dri­ving by pri­or own­er – this could indi­cate oth­er mechan­i­cal parts are worn exces­sive­ly, too.
  • All hybrids are required by fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions to car­ry a min­i­mum of a 100K-mile, eight-year bat­tery war­ran­ty; some states, like Cal­i­for­nia, require even longer war­ran­ty peri­ods.
  • Some tests have shown that the bat­ter­ies used to pow­er hybrids’ elec­tric motors last much longer.
  • Replace­ment bat­tery for Toyota’s 2004–9 Prius mod­els sells for less than $2,200, Edmunds found. Hon­da sells replace­ment bat­ter­ies for the 2005 to 2011 Civic hybrids for $1,700 – and there’s always find­ing them at auto sal­vage yards for as lit­tle as $500

Source:  New York Times


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