Chicago Automobile Trade Association

Shoppers say gas mileage is a new vehicle's biggest selling point

November 17, 2010

More new-vehicle buyers are citing gas mileage as a reason for choosing one car over another, according to a study of vehicle preferences.

The study released Sept. 24 by J.D. Power and Associates also said a growing number of potential car buyers are considering buying Asian brands, while the number considering cars from domestic automakers is shrinking.

"Fuel economy has definitely become a more important issue, and I think if we were in the field with the survey right now, I think it would be even more important," said Tom Gauer, senior director of automotive retail research at J.D. Power.

The results of the study, conducted from May to July, come at a time when U.S. automakers are scrambling to get fuel-sipping vehicles to the market.

Ford and GM have been ramping up production of small cars to meet demand, while cutting back production of slow-selling light trucks and sport-utility vehicles. GM also plans to sell a new global compact car, the Chevrolet Cruze, in the U.S. in 2010, the same time Ford will introduce its new European-designed Fiesta. Both cars are expected to get close to 40 miles per gallon.

Twenty percent of buyers in the survey cited inadequate gas mileage as a reason for rejecting one car in favor of another, up 3 percentage points from 2007, making it the biggest year-over-year increase among the reasons cited for rejecting a car.



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