Recent media buzz has suggested that people looking to buy a hybrid car to save money would be better off putting change in their piggybanks. But what these pundits don’t seem to understand is that it’s not their purse-strings that motivate the hybrid buyer; it’s their heartstrings. In the world of marketing, hybrid cars appeal to a specific demographic category known as LOHAS: Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. A more trendy term for this group of Whole Foods-shopping, Prius-driving, tea-drinking, yoga-practicing men and women is ‘metrospiritual.’ It’s a $227 billion market segment that strives to make sure its buying habits jibe with its values-and it’s growing. Car manufacturers recognize the buying power of this group, as evidenced by the increasing number of hybrid models being launched or planned. Toyota alone says it will introduce 10 new models in the next five years, and J.D. Power and Associates predicts that there will be as many as 52 hybrid models on sale in the next six years. The insurance industry is taking notice, too. Travelers personal lines offers a 10% discount on auto insurance for hybrid car drivers and has launched to give hybrid […]

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