October 20, 2004

Hybrid vehicles and run-flat tires of most interest to Japanese

Tokyo, Japan – Hybrid electric vehicles and run-flat tires elicit the highest interest from Japanese consumers among new vehicle technologies, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2004 Japan Automotive Emerging Technologies Study released on Tuesday.

The study, now in its third year, assesses consumer familiarity, interest and purchase consideration of various automotive emerging technologies including: hybrid electric vehicles, run-flat tires, rear seat entertainment systems, wireless connectivity systems, advanced windshield cleaning systems, brake-by-wire, heated/cooled seats, external surround sensing, vehicle stability and driver recognition systems.

Among technologies included in the study, consumers are most familiar with hybrid electric vehicles. The study finds 40 percent of respondents report being “very familiar” with hybrid electric technology – up 10 percentage points from 2003. Hybrid electric vehicles also garner the highest level of interest, with 68 percent of respondents saying they are “probably” or “definitely” interested in the technology. This high level of interest is common to all age groups and vehicle segments.

Run-flat tires is a technology with low familiarity, with only 7 percent of respondents saying they are “very familiar” with it. Contrasting with the low level of familiarity, interest in this safety-related technology is remarkably high, at 66 percent. Purchase consideration of run-flat tires is also high. At an estimated market price

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