Fuel efficiency key driver for purchase decisions
J.D. Power surveys everyone about everything. The company, based in Southern California, has surveyed consumers since 1968. While best known for their automotive surveys, J.D. Power also conducts surveys in a number of other industries, including boats, electronics, insurance and travel, among others. Survey results are then compiled and analyzed, and these consumer results have become extremely important; especially to automotive industry executives always looking to find an edge on the competition.
The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Avoider Study was released today, citing reasons that many consumers failed to consider or avoided particular models when shopping for a new vehicle. The most influential reason for purchasing a particular vehicle model last year is fuel economy. In 2010 prior key factors included reliability, the deal and exterior styling. It sounds to us like long-term cost of ownership (fuel cost) is more significant than other considerations in our current economic environment. With a full tank now running from $50 to $80 or more, this is understandable. Also, considering the fact that the cost of gasoline has doubled in ten years, we can see how this could influence a new car buyer looking forward to vehicle ownership for several years into the future.
So lets take a look at how consumers view three vehicles – Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF and Toyota Prius. Volt was avoided by most due to its price. LEAF and Prius didn’t make the cut for many based on styling. In addition, Volt and LEAF avoiders did not like their small size, while lack of performance was a reason cited to not purchase the Prius. After driving the new Prius v, we would have to agree. These are the reasons why they did not buy these vehicles. So why did they buy them? Let’s take a look.
All three vehicles shared common reasons for purchase – fuel economy and environmental impact. Beyond that, reasons started to diverge. Volt buyers liked the looks of the Volt. LEAF buyers were looking forward to low maintenance costs and Prius buyers expected reliability.
These types of studies can actually be very informative, as consumers that have already made purchase decisions provide their feedback. This particular study is based on over 24,000 responses from consumers that purchased a vehicle in May 2011. Surveys responses were gathered between August and October 2011.