More than 67 percent of Indian consumers say that fuel efficiency is more important than power when it comes to buying a new car. That is just one conclusion of a survey of more than 9,500 drivers in 11 markets across the Asia Pacific region conducted on behalf of Ford Motor Company in June 2016.
When asked the reasons for prioritizing fuel efficiency, 72 percent of consumers from India cited the need to save money. Other top reasons included a desire to be more environmentally friendly (71 %) and concerns for high fuel prices (64 %). In fact, fuel efficiency is such a major factor that more than half (52 %) of drivers who currently own a powerful car say that they regret not purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle. The survey revealed that the need to save money was also reflected in fuel-purchasing habits. 1 in 4 (28 %) said they already apply tactics to save at the pump such as waiting for lower fuel prices to top up.
This desire to reduce fuel consumption extends so far that drivers in India are even willing to change their behavior on the roads. More than 40 % of consumers say that they will change their driving habits to use less fuel and 37 % say that they will take public transport more often. Another 33 % say that they are planning on driving less over the next 12 months.
But while Indians are eager to protect themselves from the sting of the pump, surprisingly many are unaware of longer-term strategies for saving money:
- More than half (57 %) of those surveyed admit that they do not consider the total cost of ownership – fuel and vehicle maintenance – when shopping for a new car
- Only 1 in 3 (37 %) say that they would invest more money at the time of purchase on a more efficient engine in order to save money on future fuel costs
- However, there may be signs that behaviors are changing. Many consumers who are planning to buy a new car in the next year are considering more fuel-efficient vehicles:
- 56 % plan to buy a vehicle with a more fuel efficient engine
- 34 % plan to downsize to a smaller vehicle
- 17 % plan to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle
However, their choice is made difficult by the fact that Indians also value performance. 4 out of 5 respondents say they consider performance as a factor when buying a new car. City residents disproportionately said that they were motivated by performance (82 % vs. 56 % of rural residents).
“We conducted this survey to learn more about what consumers’ attitudes are towards fuel efficiency when they are shopping for a new car. Fuel efficiency remains one of the top concerns. Drivers continue to be sensitive to fuel costs.” said Kevin Tallio, Chief Engineer, Engine Engineering, Ford Asia Pacific.