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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Automotive arrow Global Survey: Is 'Green' Set To Drive The Car Industry?
Global Survey: Is 'Green' Set To Drive The Car Industry? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Synovate   
13 Jul 2009

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Who wants a car that turns heads?  
Picture this. A crowded street full of bars and restaurants, gorgeous and wealthy people spilling out of drinking establishments and onto the footpaths.

Suddenly the sound of a throaty engine rises above the pumping music and street noise, a prelude to the gobsmackingly powerful, tangerine sports car that pulls up.

It's quite simply beautiful. Every single conversation stops. Laughter trails off. And every single head turns.

That's the power of a dream car.

And that's what makes it quite amazing that, even if money were no object, six in ten people say they would rather buy a green car than a dream car.

Synovate surveyed more than 13,500 people across 18 markets about green versus dream cars, vehicle ownership, intent to buy in the next year and their attitude to cars, traffic, public transport and their need-for-speed. Here's some of what we 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.

Click here to see full results for the question on 'Dream versus Green' cars.

Last Updated ( 13 Jul 2009 )
 
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