DEARBORN, Mich., June 21, 2011 – More than 40 percent of consumers view fuel economy as “extremely important” when considering a new vehicle purchase today, a new study finds.
What’s more, one third of consumers say fuel economy will have the “greatest impact” on their next vehicle purchase, and younger buyers place an even higher priority on miles per gallon.
“Customers are telling us clean and green vehicles matter most because they are good for people’s wallets and good for our planet,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We hear what they are saying, and that is why Ford is absolutely committed to giving our customers vehicles with top fuel efficiency.”
The annual New Vehicle Customer Study has been conducted since the 1970s by Maritz Research, reaching approximately 200,000 consumers a year. The latest study, conducted in the first quarter, shows:
In addition, while buyers of small vehicles are most likely to put fuel economy toward the top of their list of purchase considerations, fuel economy has jumped in importance in nearly all vehicle segments since 2001, the survey finds. Specifically:
The Maritz Research survey results also track with Ford’s 2011 research and sales trends.
Consumer perceptions of Ford delivering “good gas mileage” grew 57 percent from late 2008 to the end of the first quarter of 2011, according to Ford’s latest brand health study.
Plus, Ford’s small vehicle sales have been hitting record levels in the U.S.
Ford’s two all-new small cars combined had sales of 29,423 in May, up 74 percent versus a year ago. It was Ford’s largest small car month since May 2008, with Fiesta sales at 7,120 and Focus sales at 22,303, up 32 percent versus a year ago.
“Since December, we have seen industry-wide small car purchases increase from 19 percent to 24 percent,” said George Pipas, Ford sales analyst. “It drives home the point that consumers are looking at more fuel-efficient choices.”
That applies to larger vehicles, too. Eighty percent of customers buying Ford’s hot-selling Fusion midsize sedan in May chose the four-cylinder engine over the V6 – up from 50 percent when the vehicle debuted in 2006. Also in May, for the first time in decades more than 55 percent of Ford F150s sold were equipped with V6 rather than V8 engines.
Ford Motor Company has 12 vehicles leading their sales segments with best-in-class fuel economy and four models that deliver 40 mpg or more – a claim no other full-line automaker can match.
Consumer habits shape decisions
For some, the idea of more ethical consumption is driving the desire for higher-mpg vehicles.
“Consumers are taking a logical approach to making their lives better,” said Sheryl Connelly, manager of Ford Global Trends and Futuring. “Choosing a car that lessens their impact on the environment as well as their wallets can really create peace of mind.”
Additionally, Ford’s family of electrified vehicles – including the Ford Transit Connect Electric, Focus Electric as well as the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid coming next year – offers plenty of choice for customers who want a vehicle that supports their ethical beliefs while also delivering quality, style and innovation.
Meeting customer desires
Ford invested billions beginning in 2006 in researching and developing new fuel-efficient engines, transmissions and electrified vehicles, working to make fuel economy affordable for millions of people. Today, Ford’s fuel economy standouts include:
New technology saves fuel
In 2010, Ford launched nine new engines and six new six-speed transmissions, and the company is on track to deliver fuel-saving six-speed transmissions across all of Ford and Lincoln brand vehicles by the end of 2012.
Ford also is expanding its industry-leading range of fuel-efficient powertrains in North America with the addition of a new 1.0-liter EcoBoost™ three-cylinder – the smallest engine Ford has ever built – and an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission.
Many of Ford’s new powertrains include fuel-saving technologies such as:
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.