EnviroFriendly Cars Important to Buyers
Last week's Research Brief about EcoGreen not being the consumers' hot button notwithstanding, a new Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study finds that sixty-one percent of new-vehicle shoppers say it is important to purchase a vehicle from a brand that is environmentally friendly. Consumers cite Toyota, Honda and Chevrolet as first, second and third for having the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. On average, consumers say they are willing to spend $2,600 more for an environmentally friendly vehicle, says the study.
Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com, says "... The latest EcoWatch results show that brands with robust alternative-fuel-technology models, be it ... hybrids... natural gas and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, or... flex-fuel and the much-talked-about electrically driven technologies... are garnering consumer perception as being the most eco-friendly."
Sixty percent of consumers are concerned about the environment, with the top issues being water pollution, air pollution, global warming and energy shortages. When asked what they are doing to change their lifestyles in response to environmental issues,
- 58 percent say they are considering a more fuel-efficient vehicle
- 57 percent say they have changed their driving habits
- 56 percent say they are making their home more energy efficient
New-car shoppers also are changing their spending habits in response to elevated gas prices, with nearly 50 percent saying they are shopping less for clothes, going out to eat less and spending less money on entertainment.
In addition, half of consumers say that gas prices have made them change their mind about the type of vehicle they are considering, or have made them think strongly about vehicles they were not previously considering:
- 58% of shoppers who have already changed the type of vehicle they are planning to purchase say they would not revert to their previous consideration even if gas prices dropped $1.00/gallon
Consumers are changing the specifications on the vehicles they are considering in order to save money and protect the environment. They are willing to compromise on engine size, vehicle size, vehicle category and performance, while they are less likely to compromise on available features and options, vehicle capacity or in-vehicle storage.
The alternative-fuel types in which consumers are most interested are hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell and natural gas vehicles, while consumers are more skeptical about biofuel, diesel and battery-electric vehicles.
The Eco Watch study is an online study of in-market new-vehicle shoppers' opinions about the effect of fuel prices, alternative-fuel-related technologies, environmental issues, new-vehicle brand and model consideration, and more.
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