Fuel efficiency has become the primary consumer preference when purchasing a new car, according to an annual global survey among automotive industry's executives.
89% of experts predicted that "fuel efficiency" will even outperform "quality" and "safety" as consumers' predominating purchase criteria. Back in 2002, only 58% named fuel efficiency as an "important" or "extremely important" consumer preference. The high increase shows that growing fuel concerns have now lead to a permanent change in purchase behaviour worldwide.
Other key findings from the annual survey, conducted by the advisory firm KPMG among 150 senior executives at vehicle manufacturers and suppliers worldwide:
66% of executives cited "innovations in manufacturing" as the greatest source of cost savings for manufacturers, followed by "materials innovation" (61%)
49% said "new technologies" is the primary area where carmakers will increase investment over the next five years, weighting more than the investment into "new models" (48%)
Most executives believe that sales of larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles will decline over the next five years, with only 28% expecting sales of sport-utility vehicles to rise. A large majority (64%) predicts that the market share of low-cost, fuel-efficient cars will continue to grow.
"High energy prices, which are permanently etched on consumers' minds, have had dramatic implications for auto manufacturers who lack quality, fuel-efficient products to satisfy demand," said Daron Gifford, National Automotive Industry leader, KPMG.
The KPMG survey was conducted among vehicle manufacturers and suppliers in Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States. Since 1999, KPMG has released an annual survey of automotive executives expressing their views on the state of the industry.