Real World Fuel Economy Top Complaint Among Green Car Buyers: Study

Real World Fuel Economy Top Complaint Among Green Car Buyers: Study

In a recent study released by J.D. Power Asia Pacific, overall customer satisfaction with new-vehicle sales has declined, while fuel efficiency is the most frequently cited factor in choosing a new vehicle.

In total, 48-percent of owners in the Japan-based survey mentioned that fuel economy was a factory when shopping for new vehicles, showing that awareness has increased on overall fuel efficiency over the last few years. In 2008, 46-percent of consumers had cited fuel efficiency as a purchasing factor while manufacturer reliability and vehicle design (55-percent each) were the most frequently cited factors back then. In 2012 however, only 45-percent of buyers mentioned manufacturer reliability while vehicle design was only mentioned by 41-percent.

As expected though, with fuel economy being one of the main purchasing factors, it’s also the most complained about. 29-percent of hybrid/electric vehicle owners were disappointed by the fuel efficiency they got with their vehicles, stating that it was lower than what was expected. Only 21-percent of  non-hybrid/electric owners had the same complaint.

“Hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle buyers show a strong tendency of dissatisfaction, based on the gap between expected fuel efficiency and actual fuel efficiency,” said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “Automakers and dealers need to carefully manage buyer expectations regarding fuel efficiency from their new HV or EV, which may vary greatly, depending on driving conditions.”

The 2012 Japanese Sales Satisfaction Index Study also measures the five most important factors to buyers which were: salesperson (33-percent), purchase condition (25-percent), sales system/process (19-percent), facility (13-percent), and product exhibit (11-percent). As for the brands that were most highly ranked in the luxury segment, Lexus was highest with a score of 720 points (of 1,000), while Mercedes-Benz took second with 709. Volvo (668) was a surprising third, with BMW (659) and Audi (653) rounding out the top five.

In the mass market segment, Volkswagen ranked the highest with a score of 642, with MINI in second with 618. Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Daihatu round off the mass market top five.