Next Up: Sporty Hybrids

Already a hit with the Hollywood in-crowd, alternative-fuel cars are this year's must have item. Not everyone is Brad Pitt or Cameron Diaz, but a new study from TNS Automotive indicates consumers' interest in such vehicles is high. As new models of hybrid vehicles emerge, registrations increase, and acceptance from the general public rises, automotive marketers need to make sure that they understand

Already a hit with the Hollywood in-crowd, alternative-fuel cars are this year's “must have” item.

Not everyone is Brad Pitt or Cameron Diaz, but a new study from TNS Automotive indicates consumers' interest in such vehicles is high.

As new models of hybrid vehicles emerge, registrations increase, and acceptance from the general public rises, automotive marketers need to make sure that they understand the characteristics of prospective buyers, says TNS.

Interest in new engine technologies is not uniform and, as with any new technology, there will be early adopters and early followers. The early adopters of alternate-fuel vehicles are already out there but it is important to identify the next wave of followers — likely to be young, male, without families, and interested in buying into the sports and mid-range segments of the market.

Key findings from the study include:

  • 39% of consumers are interested in alternate fuel vehicles, with 26% considering purchasing one.
  • Men (41%) are more interested in alternative fuel sources than women (37%).

“The U.S. car buying public knows that change is coming,” says Andy Turton, president of TNS Automotive.

He says the consumer most likely to influence this trend is young, male and someone to whom style is an important attribute in a mid-sized or sporty vehicle.

“The auto manufacturer who first creates a hybrid engine that also delivers sporty performance will be in a very good position,” he says.

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