The company that sells V8 Mustang muscle cars by the boatload says that a significant number of new car buyers regret not opting for a more efficient vehicle, even if many of them have little idea how to make their cars use less juice.
Ford Asia Pacific commissioned a buyer survey* of 9500 people across 11 markets — including Australia — and found that buyers here rank fuel efficiency as their top priority when purchasing a new vehicle.
Additionally, it found that four out of five Australian consumers rate fuel economy over power when choosing a new car.
When asked the reasons for prioritising fuel efficiency, four out of five respondents from Australia cited the need to save money — nearly 13 per cent higher than the Asia Pacific regional average of 68 percent.
Other top reasons included concern about high fuel prices (64 per cent) and an interest in being more environmentally friendly (44 per cent). Fuel efficiency is such a significant factor that 29 per cent of drivers who currently own a powerful car say that they regret not purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
In line with the findings, Ford says that more than 34 per cent of consumers are planning on driving less over the next 12 months, and 22 per cent say that they will change their driving habits to use less fuel.
This all coincides with a general wariness about Australian fuel prices. More than three quarters (78 per cent) of respondents say they don’t trust fuel prices to stay stable over the next year, which is 30 per cent more than the Asia Pacific average.
While fuel-efficiency is a priority, this desire is countered by the fact that Australian motorists place high value of performance. More than half (53 per cent) of all respondents say they consider power as a major factor when buying a new car.
City residents disproportionately said that they were motivated by performance when compared to suburban residents (58 per cent versus 51 per cent). This is where downsized turbo-petrol engines such as Ford’s EcoBoost range come in.
“We conducted this survey to get a better understanding of what drivers know about fuel economy and how they choose their vehicle,” said Graeme Whickman.
“The results show there is quite a lot of confusion amongst Australians’ about what constitutes fuel efficient driving," he added, with the company backing this with the following statistics.
The survey revealed that:
- One-third (33 per cent) of Australian drivers do not know that harsh acceleration and braking can have a dramatic affect on their car’s fuel consumption
- One in five Australian drivers believe that keeping the engine running while idling will save more fuel, though turning the engine off and restarting it again is actually more fuel-efficient (stop-start systems do this).
- 70 per cent of drivers are unaware that cruise control can deliver fuel efficiency benefits
- Only one in 10 drivers use GPS to map the quickest route before heading out
- 40 per cent of respondents didn’t know that driving in hilly terrain can hamper fuel consumption
- Only around one-quarter of respondents knew cold weather (24 per cent) and hot weather (27 per cent) affect a vehicle’s fuel efficiency
- Less than half (47 per cent) of those surveyed knew that removing heavy items or clutter from the car to help save fuel
- One in three Australian drivers was unaware that regular maintenance and keeping tyres inflated helps save fuel
*The online survey was conducted by GlobalWebIndex on behalf of Ford Motor Company. Fieldwork was concluded in June 2016.
9509 consumers were surveyed across 11 markets: Australia (1026), China (1011), Hong Kong (784), India (1023), Malaysia (786), New Zealand (774), Philippines (783), South Korea (760), Taiwan (762), Thailand (1026) and Vietnam (774).