Shelton, Connecticut – Automobile buyers in China show the most interest in moving toward alternative energy vehicles such as hybrids, topping that of buyers in Japan and the U.S., according to a new international survey by Survey Sampling International (SSI).

Half of the Chinese buyers polled who expressed interested said they will definitely select an eco-car for their next automobile purchase.

In comparison, one-quarter of Japanese respondents said they would definitely buy an alternative energy vehicle, while only 14 per cent of Americans said they would. This could be due in part to China’s taxation policies, SSI said, which encourage saving energy, emission discharge reduction and environmental protection.

When asked about the importance they would place on various factors when purchasing an eco-car, 39.6 per cent of Chinese said the manufacturer was the most important; 29.5 per cent said body type. Among U.S. buyers, 32.6 per cent said manufacturer, and 21.4 per cent said body type. In Japan, 30.6 per cent said the vehicle’s price after tax reductions and subsidies was most important, while 23.1 per cent cited the vehicle’s manufacturer.

The level of interest by age was generally consistent within each country, but varied widely among them. In China, buyers aged 40-49 years had the most interest, at 52.6 per cent, while those aged 18-29 years had the least interest, at 47.4 per cent. In Japan, those in their 60s had the most interest, at 29.7 per cent, while buyers in their 30s showed the least interest, at 18.8 per cent. Younger buyers had the most interest in the U.S., with those aged 18-29 having the most interest at 16 per cent, and aged 30-39 years the least, at 10.9 per cent.

Buyers in Japan and the U.S. cited Toyota as the eco-vehicle brand they would most want to buy, with Japanese preferring a minivan, and Americans a sedan. In China, the top desired vehicle was an Audi sedan.

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