Kiwi car buyers want fuel efficient

Kiwi car buyers want fuel efficient

image004%5b2%5dKiwi new car buyers see fuel efficiency as a big part of their purchasing decision according to a new survey.

Conducted by Ford across its markets in the Asia Pacific region, the survey found more than 83%of New Zealand consumers say that fuel efficiency is more important than power.

The survey of more than 9,500 drivers in 11 markets across the region, was undertaken in June.

When asked the reasons for prioritising fuel efficiency, 85% of respondents from New Zealand cited the desire to save money. Other top reasons included concern about high fuel prices (68%) and an interest in being more environmentally friendly (43%).

In fact, fuel efficiency is such a major factor that nearly one-third (28%) of drivers who currently own a powerful car say that they regret not purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

“We conducted this survey to learn more about what consumers’ attitudes are towards fuel efficiency when they are shopping for a new car,” says Kevin Tallio, chief engineer, Engine Engineering, Ford Asia Pacific. “Fuel efficiency remains one of the top concerns. Drivers continue to be sensitive to fuel costs, no matter what the price is at the pump.”

The survey reveals that the desire to save money is also reflected in fuel-purchasing habits.

Many New Zealanders said they already apply tactics to save at the pump, such as waiting for lower fuel prices to top up (45%), 42% say that they always use a coupon when filling up, and 34% say that they only go to fuel stations where they get points for filling up. Only one in three says that they fill up whenever, regardless of price.

This coincides with a general wariness about New Zealand’s fuel prices – four out of five respondents say they don’t trust New Zealand’s fuel prices to stay stable over the next year. In the March 2016 quarter, New Zealand was the 19th most expensive of the 35 OECD nations for quarterly premium unleaded petrol prices.

Drivers are starting to change their driving behaviors too. More than 39% of consumers are planning on driving less over the next 12 months and 27% say that they will change their driving habits to use less fuel.

These thrifty behaviours extend to what New Zealanders would do if they could save even more on fuel. More than half of respondents (53%) said that if they saved 20% on fuel every month, they would put the extra money towards their savings. Another 42 percent say that they would use the money to pay off existing debt.

But while New Zealand consumers are eager to protect themselves from the sting of the pump, surprisingly many are unaware of longer-term strategies for saving money.

Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed admit that they do not consider the total cost of ownership – fuel and vehicle maintenance – when shopping for a new car

Only 29% say that they would invest more money at the time of purchase on a more efficient engine in order to save money on future fuel costs

However, there may be signs that behaviours are changing. Many consumers who are planning to buy a new car in the next year are considering more fuel-efficient vehicles: 37% plan to buy a vehicle with a more fuel efficient, 19% plan to downsize to a smaller vehicle and 16% plan to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle .

However, their choice is made difficult by the fact that New Zealanders also value performance. More than half (56%) of all respondents say they consider performance as a factor when buying a new car.

“Today’s consumers are more sophisticated than ever,” said Tallio. “They expect their vehicle to deliver excellent fuel economy without sacrificing the performance they need – whether it’s accelerating on the highway or maneuvering through traffic – it is important that power is available.”

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