September 5, 2006

Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen vehicles top list of environmentally-friendly vehicles

Westlake Village, California – Fifteen automotive brands are represented in the top 30 list of environmentally-friendly vehicles, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Alternative Powertrain Study. The all-new study uses the Automotive Environmental Index, which combines U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information with responses from more than 4,000 customers.

Eight of the top 30 vehicles are hybrids: the Ford Escape Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h, Honda Accord Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid (not sold in Canada), Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.

Traditional gasoline-powered models in the top 30 are the Acura RSX, Hyundai Elantra, Suzuki Reno (sold in Canada as the Chevrolet Optra5), Chevrolet Aveo, Kia Rio, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Cobalt, Kia Spectra, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus station wagon, Mazda MX-5, Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Accord, Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen New Beetle, Honda Civic, Saturn Ion, Hyundai Accent and Scion xA (not sold in Canada).

J.D. Power notes that hybrid SUVs are the only truck models among the top 30, and only two luxury models, the Lexus RX400h and Acura RSX, made the list. The list also contains no diesels.

The study, which examines consumer perceptions regarding hybrids, diesel and flexible fuel vehicles, found that less than one-fourth (23 per cent) of customers say they will only consider a gasoline-powered model for their next vehicle. Among consumers who expect to buy a new vehicle within the next two years, 57 per cent indicated that they are considering a hybrid vehicle, while 49 per cent are considering flexible fuel (E85 ethanol) and 12 per cent are considering a diesel. Younger buyers are much more likely to consider an alternative powertrain; nearly three-quarters of consumers aged 16 to 25 are interested in a hybrid, 52 per cent are considering flexible fuel and 15 per cent are considering a diesel vehicle; however, buyers in this age group purchase fewer than 10 per cent of all new vehicles. Actual hybrid owners tend to average 55 years of age.

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