Detroit, Michigan – Auto companies are expected to increase their investment in new technologies to produce more environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient vehicles, according to a global automotive survey conducted by U.S. advisory firm KPMG. The eleventh annual report polled 200 senior auto company executives.

Of the executives surveyed, nine in ten said they expect manufacturers and suppliers to focus on new technologies, while 88 per cent predict that manufacturers will increase investment on new models and products, and 78 per cent say suppliers will do the same.

In line with consumer expectations, when asked to rate the importance of alternative fuel technologies over the next five years, hybrid fuel systems came out on top, at almost 85 per cent. These were followed by battery electric power (68 per cent), fuel cell electric power (63 per cent) and biodiesel (42 per cent).

“There’s no doubt that automaker focus on technology will result in great leaps in alternative and hybrid fuel vehicles, with consumers and the environment reaping the benefits in the long run,” said Gary Silberg, national automotive industry leader for KPMG. “The consumer mindset on fuel efficiency is forcing automakers to build more fuel-efficient cars and to create new product that satisfies demand.”

Fuel efficiency was most frequently cited as an influence on consumer purchase decisions over the next five years; at 94 per cent, it was fairly flat from last year’s high of 96 per cent. It was ahead of environmental friendliness (just over 80 per cent), safety innovation (71 per cent) and vehicle styling (61 per cent).

When asked which vehicles the executives expect to see increase in sales over the next five years, hybrid fuel vehicles rated almost 93 per cent, followed by other alternative fuel vehicles (83 per cent), low-cost or introduction cars (82 per cent), cars (66 per cent), crossovers (46 per cent) and small pickup trucks (just under 45 per cent).

When asked to name which vehicles might see an increase in the total cost of incentives, including discounts, rebates and free offers during the next year, SUVs topped the list at 53 per cent, followed by hybrid fuel vehicles (almost 50 per cent) and other alternative fuel vehicles (48 per cent).

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