Lack of refueling costs is very good. Low emissions are even better. That's a brief synopsis of an also-brief report from J.D. Power, which attempted to suss out the reasons why Americans buy electric vehicles, among other things.

Of those who bought electric vehicles, 32 percent cited environmental concerns, while 29 percent said "fuel" economy (with the fuel here being conceptual because there's no actual liquid product involved here) was the primary reason for the purchase. Those results somewhat dovetailed with preferences of "Mass Market" vehicle buyers, as fuel economy popped up as the most important reason for a new-car purchase. That was followed by reliability, purchase terms (i.e., interest rates and rebates), styling and performance. Luxury buyers put performance up top, naturally. J.D. Power polled about 29,000 vehicles owners in the spring of 2013 for the results of its 2014 U.S. Avoider Study.

Whether those results would hold up today remains in question as Tesla Motors and its luxury Model S has taken a sizable chunk of the US plug-in market since then. Last year, Americans almost doubled their plug-in purchases to just short of 100,000 units. Tesla sold almost 22,300 vehicles in 2013, roughly keeping pace with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. You can read more about J.D. Power's press release below.
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J.D. Power Reports: New-Vehicle Buyers Cite Latest Technology as a Reason for Purchasing Domestic Vehicles More Often than as a Reason for Purchasing Imports

Top Five Purchase Reasons Differ between Luxury and Mass Market New-Vehicle Buyers

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 15 January 2014 -- New technology offerings in vehicles are important to new-vehicle buyers who purchase domestic models, as 38 percent of those buying domestic vehicles cite the latest technology features as a reason for their purchase, compared with 33 percent of import vehicle buyers, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Avoider StudySM released today.

Additionally, domestic vehicle buyers who previously owned an import model are even more likely to purchase a domestic model due to its new technology and features (40%).

"Domestic brands in general are carving out a niche for themselves by offering vehicles with the latest technological features, and it appears to be getting the attention of consumers," said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power. "It's important for automakers to understand what motivates new-vehicle buyers to shop and purchase a particular model and focus on promoting those top purchase influencers to differentiate themselves and gain market share."

KEY FINDINGS
-- Among both import and domestic new-vehicle buyers, latest technology is among the top 10 purchase reasons indicated at the industry level.
-- For a third consecutive year, gas mileage continues to be the most influential purchase reason at the industry level (15%) and is the second-most-frequently cited reason for rejecting a vehicle, behind price.
-- Exterior styling remains the most influential reason for new-vehicle buyers to avoid shopping other models in the segment in which they purchased (33%).
-- Slightly more than eight in 10 (81%) new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet for automotive shopping cite accessing online ratings and reviews prior to purchasing their vehicle. Fifteen percent of new-vehicle buyers cite online ratings and reviews as a reason they avoided a specific vehicle, up 4 percentage points from 2010.
-- Among new-vehicle buyers who purchased an electric vehicle, more buyers say that they did so due to environmental concerns (32).

The study also finds that the top five most influential purchase reasons among luxury and mass market new-vehicle buyers are:

Luxury
1. Performance (power, handling, etc.)
2. Quality of workmanship (materials, fit and finish)
3. Exterior styling (design)
4. Like the image this vehicle portrays
5. Reliability (freedom from breakdowns)

Mass Market
1. Gas mileage (fuel economy)
2. Reliability (freedom from breakdowns)
3. The "Deal" (interest rates/rebates)
4. Exterior styling (design)
5. Performance (power, handling, etc.)

The 2014 Avoider Study is based on responses from approximately 29,000 owners who registered a new vehicle in April and May 2013. The study was fielded between July and September 2013. The study, now in its 11th year, examines the reasons consumers purchase, reject and why they do not consider--or avoid--particular models when shopping for a new vehicle.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 10 Months Ago
      I guess I echo the sentiments of many, when I say, I was attracted to EV technology for environmental reasons, became fascinated by the technology, and stayed to participate in an exciting new industry. IMO, of the great things about owning an EV (or EREV, PHEV) is the other environmental benefits it encourages, such as Solar Panels, Bio-mass plants, etc.
      Grendal
      • 10 Months Ago
      Is one of the choices: Because they freakin' rock! ? No?
      itsme38269
      • 10 Months Ago
      Because they're better in every way.
      Jim1961
      • 10 Months Ago
      I bought my first EV (Leaf) because I did the math. I bought my second plug in car (Volt) because my first plug in car made my hybrid look like a gas guzzler.
      SublimeKnight
      • 10 Months Ago
      In GA I pay less to lease and drive my LEAF than I do to use my cellphone. So for me: 1) Cheapest option 2) Cheapest option 3) Cheapest option
      CoolWaters
      • 10 Months Ago
      And because Liberals are REAL AMERICANS, Fighting Back at the Saudi Government Funding of the 9/11 Terrorists.
        Vlad
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CoolWaters
        You are breaking #1 rule of Liberals: don't use all caps.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CoolWaters
        For the love of god, please stop reading alternet and thinkprogress so much; it is turning your brain into a psychotic dualistic mush
        2 wheeled menace
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CoolWaters
        101% true fact that only liberals own electric vehicles
          DarylMc
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Marcopolo I thought you would get a laugh.
          DarylMc
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          That's true. Even Marcopolo is a supporter of the Liberals:)
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          @ DarylMc, Lol ! Although, I'm more of an old fashioned, small 'l', Liberal, of the Menzies or Hamer persuasion. (it's an Australian thing). I'm appalled by the anti-civil liberty antics of the current Liberal Queensland Attorney-General. ( When a student, I did vote for my step-father who was a long serving Country Party MP, on the basis he was a decent bloke, who although pretty ineffective, at least was well meaning, and did no real harm )
          DarylMc
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Hi Marcopolo I think I've seen worse things than our current AG but in my opinion the current 2 party system is rotten. There is an excellent web site to assist in choosing your vote at http://www.abc.net.au/votecompass/ I think it is really good It tells me I should vote for the ALP. Well it is the ABC and I'm sceptical. But it does however put my me into a category of socially conservative and economic left. It's a quadrant not occupied by any political parties. In any case I really hope your step father is not reading ABG:)
        Louis Choquette
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CoolWaters
        I was surprised that "National Defense" was not on the list. Doing our part to help become free of foreign oil dependence is the best thing everyone can do to keep our soldiers out of harms way.
      Aaron
      • 10 Months Ago
      It would have been nice to see a little more data from the EV buyers. 1. Environmental concerns 2. "Gas" mileage 3. ? 4. ? 5. ?
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Aaron
        3. Low operating costs 4. Performance(Tesla) 5. Technophile preference for new/shiny/computerized
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          @ paulwesterberg, " Technophile preference for new/shiny/computerized " I hear you ! :)
      David Murray
      • 10 Months Ago
      I've been saying this for a while, but I feel like pointing it out again. This seems to mimic the results we've seen on polls on some of the popular EV related websites. While tree-huggers may be the largest category, it is worth mentioning that if 32% bought an EV because of environmental reasons, then 68% bought for some OTHER reason. And I suspect as more and more mainstream buyers start to buy these cars, especially outside of California, that 32% will eventually drop to 10% or less. The future of plug-in cars will not be the treehugger crowd. That's why I've been saying car makers need to stop advertising to that crowd. I wish Nissan would remove the "zero emissions" thing from the Leaf as most people don't even know what that means. And I didn't buy my Leaf because I cared about zero emissions in the first place. Why can't it just say "electric" or something like that so that people on the street and in parking lots will know it is an electric car.
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @David Murray
        In California they get the added incentive of driving in the HOV lane, which you no longer can do with hybrids. So then add to the list "Saves Time".
        Vlad
        • 1 Day Ago
        @David Murray
        "Environmentally friendly" carries positive message far beyond treehugging circles. So even if environmental benefits are not a top priority for a mainstream buyer, it doesn't mean that highlighting them does not help. People want to feel good about themselves, and buying "green" products helps them with that. Having said that, I do feel that other benefits of EVs are not advertised enough. Smooth and quiet ride, and virtually unnecessary maintenance should be a huge draw for the vast majority of people.
      thecommentator2013
      • 10 Months Ago
      Some people sat down and thought about what their daily commute really is. That's why EV- and EREV-sales are picking up. It's the choice of a thinking man.
        Joeviocoe
        • 10 Months Ago
        @thecommentator2013
        So many people really did not know how many miles their commute is... they tend to measure in time, which is influenced by traffic. Now, with GPS being so popular, checking the miles is easy.
          Naturenut99
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Knowing the miles, at anytime since odometer's were installed, has been easy if people decided to actually pay attention.
      Smoking_dude
      • 10 Months Ago
      gas anxiety
      otiswild
      • 10 Months Ago
      Come for the tax credit, stay for the relaxingly smooth and silent ride!
      MTN RANGER
      • 10 Months Ago
      For me: 1. cool technology, 2. low operating costs, 3. quiet/smooth driving, 4. lower emissions/pollution, 5. lower foreign energy dependence.
        GreenDriver
        • 1 Day Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        I would add: 1. Time saved not filling up a gasser once a week 2. Ability to fuel vehicle with renewables (wind, solar, tidal) 3. Helps improve US trade imbalance 4. And as Grendal so eloquently stated "Because they freakin' rock!"
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