A recent survey, conducted by Michigan-based GfK Automotive, found that the general car-buying public is primarily motivated to choose their next vehicle based on cost, rather than out of interest for saving the environment. The findings show that automakers that are intent on selling green vehicles must focus on educating consumers about the financial benefits of alternative technology vehicles and not on the high-tech gadgetry that makes such a vehicle an environmentally friendly, breakthrough product.

Don DeVeaux, a 27-year automotive industry vet and managing director for GfK, spoke of the firm's findings at the monthly International Motor Press Association in New York recently. DeVeaux noted that automakers have done a poor job informing consumers about the cost savings associated with alternative technology vehicles and suggested that if buyers can't easily justify paying a premium to drive clean, efficient vehicles, then the segment is doomed. Green Car Advisor quotes DeVeaux's speech on the current car-buying behavior like this:
They're saying, look, when it comes down to it, it's about...how do I save money? And the reason for that is, saving money, the fuel economy, is a tangible. The green side is an intangible. There's definitely pride and feeling that you're doing good things in saving the planet, but at the end of the day we're talking about what it's going to do for me. It doesn't really matter what these vehicles are called. You can call them a tomato, as long as you deliver the benefits. If you can show somebody that the vehicle has a better range, has a better price and delivers the green aspect to go along with it, I think you'll have a winner. If you focus solely on the technology and don't hit on those core needs, I think you're going to have a problem with people making trade-offs.
Us greenies would disagree with Deveaux's stance that price alone drives a buyer to decide whether or not saving the planet is a justifiable act, but we don't exactly slot in with the rest of that general car-buying public. Click here (PDF) to view DeVeaux's entire presentation.

[Source: GfK Custom Research via Green Car Advisor]

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