Toronto, Ontario – A new study by BrandIntel notes that consumers are concerned about environmental concerns when it comes to their vehicles, but that economics play a major role in their buying decisions.

“Our research suggests that consumers are voicing concerns about green issues almost exclusively in the context of their personal economics – green is good, but it’s most potent when it aligns with the consumer’s wallet,” said Alan Dean, vice-president of research at BrandIntel. “Consumers are also quick to see which auto manufacturers have credibility creating green vehicles, and which manufacturers put in ‘just enough effort’ to appear green. Additionally, consumers have moved beyond the surface issues and are engaged in complex discussions about the lifetime environmental footprint of new technologies.”

The report captured data from October 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007, and found the following:

  • Over 80 per cent of consumer discussions focused on fuel economy, indicating that consumers perceive the value proposition experienced with green auto technologies, and indicates a willingness to consider more economic vehicle options.
  • Automakers are viewed more negatively if they are not in support of new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. For example, consumers questioned Toyota’s opposition to the new standards, as consumers have traditionally seen it as a green company.
  • While diesel technologies are making significant strides, consumers still use the word “hybrid” three times more often, suggesting that consumers’ association of “green” and “hybrid” is more prevalent than “green” and “diesel”.
  • Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and Volkswagen have green credibility due to their hybrid and diesel offerings, while customers do not perceive General Motors and Chrysler to have green credibility due to their large truck and SUV fleets, and weaker diesel and hybrid vehicle line-ups.

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