Research Say 59% Will Go for Green Car

Almost 60% chose to buy green car over a dream car. Fifteen percent said they will buy a new car in the next 12 months. This is the result of Synovate research conducted across 18 countries in March 2009.

Here's some of what Synovate global research found.

Dream, green or in between?
Is green mainstream? Can the lure of the environmentally friendly vehicle outweigh the desire for all the raw power of the petrol engine? Synovate asked respondents to forget about money for a moment and tell us whether they would buy green, dream or in between.

The top answer across all 18 markets, if money were no object, was to buy a green car, with 37% of respondents saying this would be their preferred purchase. Thirty-one percent said they would buy their dream car and a further 22% claimed that 'my dream car is a green car'... meaning that 59% - or very nearly six in ten - showed the desire to go green.

"Car makers are producing more and more options that will appeal to this fast-growing group of green-inclined people," says Synovate's CEO of Motorsesearch, Scott Miller.

"But we cannot forget that cars are the ultimate product when it comes to an emotional connection with people. What you drive says more about you than you think. There will always be a group of people who do not want to compromise on dream cars for green reasons. The answer? The 22% who want both are the way of the future. Car makers will produce vehicles that are dream and green."

Some of the highest results for 'green' (adding 'green car' to 'dream car is a green car') were Thailand at 77%, Korea at 76%, China at 75% and Brazil at 72%.

Synovate's Director of Motoresearch for China Kelvin Gin, says it's not a surprising result for China.

"Last year's Olympic Games really highlighted issues with China's air quality, plus the Government has made concessions for both green car manufacturers and the people who choose to buy and drive them. In fact there is RMB10 billion (approx US$1.5 billion) up for grabs for investment in manufacturing greener cars."

Similarly the Brazilian Government provides incentives for people to buy greener vehicles.

"By law, all cars now have to be flex-fuel which has quite quickly made 'green' cars part of behaviour and thinking in Brazil," says Ari Gonzalis, New Business Director for Synovate Motoresearch in Brazil.

"Brazilians are also proud that the nation is a leader in developing alternative fuel that is cheaper and pollutes less. By making 'green' de rigueur, the Government has actually created a scenario where people's dream cars are green by definition."

Despite the 'fantasy' element of the question where money is no object, Synovate Korea's Motoresearch Head, ByeongHwan Je, puts the Korean lean towards green down to economics.

"Green or hybrid cars are more fuel efficient and, together with pollution concerns, this economical issue would be a big part of why Koreans put green over dream."

The nation most likely to simply elect 'green car' was Germany, with 58% choosing the environment over their dream cars.

So where can the dreamers be found? Overall, 31% of people would still choose their dream car green-be-damned, 35% of men and 27% of women. The single biggest result for dream car came from South Africa where over half of all respondents (53%) would go for their fantasy vehicle.

South Africa-based Richard Rice, Director of Global Motoresearch Sales & Marketing for Synovate, says that, in South Africa, the car is probably the closest product that comes to a visible expression of who a person is.

"Here a car is emotional. People love their cars... for the freedom, for the image they create, for what it says about their status. Consequently, that image is far more important than how environmentally friendly a car is.

"Compounding this is that many car buyers in South Africa are the first family members to even be able to buy a car, so in the excitement, green considerations will fall by the wayside. We'll go with however much power we can afford."

Similarly, 47% of Indians say they would go dream, something that Sumit Arora, Head of Synovate's Motoresearch group in India explains is due to the 'new' India.

"The Indian auto market is vibrant. Every year new 'dream' models are launched and major world players arrive. Luxury cars have started hitting good numbers.

"And what's driving this is ambition and aspiration. People now have more money; more choices and they are willing to spend. Ownership of big-ticket items is a reflection of success and conspicuous consumption is celebrated. These numbers will only rise."

In the United States (US), 35% would buy a dream car, 23% chose green and 19% say their dream car is a green car.

Purchase intention: Brakes on or gearing up?
Yes, we are all living in interesting times... many individuals are dealing with financial challenges, Governments are trying to manage copious economic challenges and car companies are facing make-or-break times. But through all this, there are still car buyers out there...

Overall, 15% of respondents across 18 diverse markets say they will buy a new car in the next 12 months. The new car purchase intenders were topped by India at 38%, Egypt at 24% and Turkey at 23%.

US-based Vice President of Motoresearch, Tim Englehart, says this is an indicator of where we are economically around the world.

"This clearly shows that car companies have great opportunities in the emerging markets of the world. It needs to be noted that this survey was conducted across urban people from the large cities so, while the results are not representative of the general population of the country, they are absolutely representative of people the car companies may wish to target.

"Many of these people will be first-time buyers and they may not be intending to buy a large family car. For example, a third of urban respondents in India saying they intend to buy a new vehicle is not surprising but this number would be growing with the introduction of a US$2,000 Tato Nano. This car has the entire industry buzzing."

In the case of Egypt, Tamer El Naggar, Managing Director and auto research specialist for Synovate in Egypt agrees there would be a large proportion of first-time buyers in the 24%.

"The dream of car ownership is being achieved by more and more middle-class Egyptians. There are more opportunities now as smaller and cheaper Chinese cars are making inroads in the market."

Least likely to be buying a new car are Australians and Germans with only 6% saying they will in the next year.

Peter Riley, Account Director of Motoresearch in Australia, says "One explanation for the low purchase intentions for new vehicles in Australia could be that just prior to the global financial crisis Australia posted record new vehicle sales. This is likely to have pushed the replacement cycle out. There is also a polarisation in the market between consumers who want to take advantage of low interest rates and great deals on offer, and those who prefer to remain cautious with their spending."

A further 6% of survey respondents across the 18 markets say they will buy a used car in the next year.

Englehart says the 6% is relatively small but car companies have an emerging opportunity in this market.

"There's a strong chance for a second bite at the cherry when it comes to their branded cars. Our survey showed that over half of all respondents (53%) agree they would be happy to pay more for a used car if it came with a manufacturer certification and warranty."

The highest agrees came from Turkey (79%), Korea (70%) and South Africa (69%).

You can see full result here.

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Disclosure: I thank the Synovate In:Fact Team for granting me the permission to publish the above articles in this website. The above articles were first publish here.

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