For the fourth year in a row, fuel economy is the biggest factor in buying a new vehicle. A new report from JD Power and Associates found that, despite cheaper gas, customers still sought out fuel-sipping cars. 14 percent of survey responders cited mileage as the biggest concern when shopping for a new car, and the second most important reason to reject a vehicle. The biggest deal-breaker, though, when it comes to buying a new car is much more superficial: 30 percent of shoppers cite appearance as the main reason to avoid buying a particular vehicle. Read more at Automotive News, or in the press release below.

Tesla's 6.1 Firmware update for the Model S makes maneuvering the car in reverse a bit easier. The update includes reverse guiding lines for the rear-view camera when backing up. Combined with the parking sensors, the new lines in the display make it easier to place the car into parking spots by showing where the car will be positioned based on the angle of the steering wheel. Two white lines curve with the steering to show where the car is going. Check it out in the video below or read more at Teslarati.

BMW will air a new ad for the i3 during Super Bowl XLIX. The 60-second commercial will play during the first quarter of the game on Sunday, February 1. BMW didn't give the whole idea behind the TV spot away, but did hint at the concept behind the ad. "Big ideas like the BMW i3 take a little getting used to, and the creative idea surrounding our spot will play on this analogy," says BMW's Trudy Hardy.

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Despite Cheap Gas, Fuel Efficiency Still a Primary Concern

Exterior Look/Design Top Reason Buyers Don't Even Consider a Vehicle

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 14 January 2015 - Despite gas prices falling to their lowest levels since 2010, fuel economy-for a fourth consecutive year-remains the most influential factor among the majority of new-vehicle buyers in determining which vehicle they select, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Avoider StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 12th year, examines the reasons consumers purchase, reject or do not consider-or avoid-particular models when shopping for a new vehicle.

According to the study, 14 percent of new-vehicle owners cite gas mileage as the most influential reason for selecting the vehicle they ultimately purchased. At the segment level, gas mileage is the primary purchase reason among buyers of compact, small and midsize cars and compact MPVs. Consequently, fuel economy is the second-most common reason why a model is rejected by shoppers at dealerships in favor of another model (16%).

"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."

Low gas prices are among the factors suppressing demand for hybrid/electric vehicle (EV) models.

Ÿ- Hybrid/EVs currently account for only 3.5 percent of new-vehicle sales, down from 3.8 percent in 2013, with more than 70 hybrid/EV models vying for that small slice of the market.[1]
- ŸBuyers 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%).
- ŸGen 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%).

The U.S. government's new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards require automakers to obtain an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon across their new car and light truck fleet by 2025.

"Factors such as fuel prices and consumer demand may make these tough standards even harder to achieve, as you can't mandate what people want to buy," said Walker. "Gen Y, the largest demographic group in U.S. history, comprises approximately 26 percent of the market, and their demand for larger vehicles will increase as their income increases and their households grow, putting further pressure on the ability for automakers to meet the strict federal mandates on gas mileage."

- Exterior look/design is the top reason shoppers avoid a particular vehicle (30%), followed by cost and interior look/design (17% each).
Ÿ- Vehicle technology is becoming increasingly important among consumers, as new-vehicle buyers indicate they avoided a model because it lacked the latest technological features at a rate of 15 percent in 2015, up from 4 percent in 2014.

The 2015 Avoider Study is based on responses from nearly 30,000 owners who registered a new vehicle in April and May 2014. The study was fielded between July and September 2014.

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