What low gas prices! Despite months of falling prices at the pump, fuel economy is still top of shoppers’ minds at the dealership, according to a new study.
In fact, fuel economy remains one of the key reasons that influences new-car buyers the most for the fourth year in a row, finds the J.D. Power and Associates’ 12th annual U.S. Avoider Study, a report that examines the reasons consumers purchase, reject or avoid certain vehicles.
“Consumers know that, although gas prices are low today, the cost of fuel will likely increase during the time they own their vehicle,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. “Clearly, consumers are considering the total cost of ownership when selecting their new vehicle.”
The study was based on responses from almost 30,000 owners who registered a new car or truck in April and May of last year.
Some 14% of new-vehicle owners listed gas mileage as the biggest reason for selecting their vehicle, the No. 1 reason consumers listed for avoiding certain models was exterior styling, with 30 percent of people listing that as the top reason.
Other study highlights include:
- 17% of new-vehicle shoppers avoided certain models because of cost and interior look/design.
- 16% avoided them because of low fuel economy.
- 14% of new-vehicle shoppers said they avoided a certain model because it lacked the latest technological features, up from 4 percent in 2014.
- Hybrid/EVs currently account for only 3.5 percent of new vehicle sales, down from 3.8 percent in 2013
- Gen Y consumers—born between 1977 and 1994 and a seemingly likely target market for hybrid vehicles because they are known to embrace eco-friendly practices—who buy gasoline engines avoid hybrid models at even greater rates for being too expensive (27%).
- Buyers of traditional gasoline-engine vehicles avoid hybrid models due to cost at much higher rate (24%) than they avoid gasoline engines due to cost (16%).
For more on the study, head to J.D Power and Associates.