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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Semiotics and Advanced Vehicles: What Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) Mean and Why it Matters to Consumers


This study addresses the relationship between image and car purchases. Image, defined as the associations linked to a product or brand name (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000) is often cited as influential in automobile purchases. But relatively little research has been conducted into what image is or why it is important to consumers. This study focused on the image of a particular vehicle: the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). The objective was to understand how buyers of HEVs perceived the image of their vehicles, and the role image played in buyers’ purchase decisions.

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