Americans Don't Understand Hybrids, Electric Cars
MONTVALE, N.J., -- For 50 years, Americans focused on things like horsepower, color, and design when deciding which car to buy. Today, that decision includes even more mystifying choices, including how the vehicle is powered – Is it a hybrid? Is it electric? Does it take regular gasoline or diesel fuel? A new survey from Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) conducted online in July 2010 by Harris Interactive suggests that Americans are having a hard time figuring out what to make of all these choices, and as a result, many are holding off on purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV).
The survey found that nearly one in two adults (48%) would be interested in purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle but are not sure about what type to get (e.g., hybrid, electric, diesel) and only about one in three (35%) say they know which types of AFVs are best for various driving situations (e.g., city, suburban, highway). In fact, more adults claim to be knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the causes of the global financial crisis, the difference between good and bad cholesterol and the amount of oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, than they are about the difference between various types of alternative fuel vehicles.
"The end game is zero-emissions driving that doesn't simply transfer the problem. And, while that is still in the future, each alternative fuel vehicle we introduce is a step in that direction, providing key findings and helping acclimate consumers to new technology," said Sascha Simon, head of advanced product planning at Mercedes-Benz USA. "Our goal at Mercedes-Benz is to provide a portfolio of options for our customers so they can choose the vehicle that best suits their lifestyle and to further the understanding and, ultimately, the adoption rate for these new technologies."
Detailed information on each option is available on the "Thinking Green" section of Mercedes-Benz's website at http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/innovation/thinking_green/overview. The site includes information on Mercedes-Benz's BlueTEC clean diesel vehicles (E350 BlueTEC, ML350 BlueTEC, GL450 BlueTEC and R350 BlueTEC), hybrid vehicles (S400 HYBRID, ML450 HYBRID and hydrogen electric vehicles (B-Class F-Cell), flexible fuel options as well as tips for driving green.
Among the findings from the MBUSA/Harris Interactive survey:
- A vast majority of U.S. adults (71%) say they are not at all or only somewhat knowledgeable about the difference between various types of alternative fuel vehicles.
- One in four adults (25%) is not at all knowledgeable about the difference between various types of alternative fuel vehicles.
- More adults claim to be knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the causes of the global financial crisis (34%), the difference between good and bad cholesterol (45%), and the amount of oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico (46%) than about the difference among various types of alternative fuel vehicles (29%).
- Men are more likely than women to say they are knowledgeable or very knowledgeable (41% vs. 18%, respectively).
- More than half of adults (58%) have never considered purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle, while nearly two in five (39%) have. Only three percent already own one.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Mercedes-Benz USA from July 9-13, 2010 among 2,242 adults ages 18 and older. Results were weighted as needed to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Donna Boland.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.
MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.mbsprinterusa.com.
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