Fuel Efficiency Overpowers Power in Ford Survey

Australians say fuel efficiency is most important when buying a new vehicle, with 80% of respondents in a Ford-sponsored survey citing the need to save money, 64% naming high fuel prices and 44% wanting to be more environmentally friendly. Only 16% called power output their highest priority.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

November 18, 2016

3 Min Read
Mustang may turn heads but most Oz newcar buyers turn to fuelsipping models
Mustang may turn heads but most Oz new-car buyers turn to fuel-sipping models.

Ford Australia is a key player in the development of EcoBoost engines globally, spending $2 billion in R&D over the past six years and even more to launch and upgrade a record number of products, including the rapid rollout of Sync 3 that helps save time and fuel.

Australians rank fuel efficiency as their top priority when purchasing a new vehicle, with 80% of respondents in a survey citing the need to save money, 64% naming high fuel prices and 44% wanting to be more environmentally friendly.

The price of gasoline in Sydney this week was A$1.17.4 Australian cents a liter – the equivalent of $3.37 a gallon. By comparison, Michigan motorists were paying about $2.05 a gallon.

This may be the reason the survey conducted for Ford found only 16% of Australian consumers rated power output as most important when buying a new vehicle.

The online survey, conducted by GlobalWebIndex surveyed consumers in 11 markets: Australia (1,026 respondents), Hong Kong (784), Thailand (1,026), India (1,023), China (1,011), Malaysia (786), Philippines (783), New Zealand (774), Vietnam (774), Taiwan (762) and South Korea (760).

The results showing the move to fuel efficiency are music to Ford’s ears as its EcoBoost technology proliferates across its lineup.

EcoBoost engines are engineered to deliver substantial fuel savings compared with larger-displacement engines. EcoBoost technology is applied in more than 20 Ford nameplates around the world.

“The survey shows that consumer attitudes towards power and fuel efficiency are shifting and industry sales are supporting that notion,” Ford Australia President and CEO Graeme Whickman says in a statement.

Fuel efficiency is such a significant factor that the survey finds 29% of drivers who own a powerful car say they regret not purchasing a more fuel-stingy vehicle.

As a result, drivers are starting to change their behavior. More than 34% say they plan to drive less over the next 12 months, and 22% say they intend to change their driving habits to use less fuel.

This coincides with general uncertainty about Australian fuel prices. Some 78% of respondents say they don’t trust fuel prices to stay stable over the next year, which is 30 percentage points more than the Asia-Pacific region’s average.

The survey finds the behavioral and attitude shifts are reflected in choices among those planning to buy a new vehicle in the next year.

It finds 32% saying they plan to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle than their current car and 23% plan to downsize to a smaller vehicle.

While fuel efficiency is a priority, Australian motorists still place high value on performance. Some 53% of respondents say they consider power a major factor when buying a new car. Among city residents, 58% say they are motivated by performance, compared with 51% of suburbanites.

Whickman says today’s consumers are more demanding than ever.

“They expect their vehicle to deliver excellent fuel economy without sacrificing the performance they need – whether it’s making a safe overtake on the highway or negotiating a busy intersection in dense city traffic – it is important that power is available,” he says.

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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