Consumer confusion and inaccurate perceptions ‘hindering AFV sales’

Time 12:03 pm, May 8, 2018

SALES of alternatively fuelled vehicles are being hindered by confusion and inaccurate perceptions among consumers, according to new research.

A survey of 1,090 drivers by Autocar and Simpson Carpenter found that customers are still confused about the relative capabilities of hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs).

Of those surveyed, a third cited range anxiety as a reason for hesitating to buy a hybrid model, despite it being a factor that only affects EVs.

Tom Simpson, managing director of Simpson Carpenter, told Autocar: ‘Potential hybrid buyers are confused by the technology and are being deterred by [perceived] barriers.’

Twenty-four per cent of people questioned said they intended to buy an AFV as their next car, but UK sales do not reflect this figure, which currently stands at 5.1 per cent of the market for the first quarter of 2018. However, the 24 per cent statistic is considerably higher than the 17 per cent in last year’s survey.

In addition, 44 per cent of respondents said they thought Euro 6 petrol and diesel models produced equal amounts of CO2, while 42 per cent believed they emitted the same amount of NOx.

Twenty per cent of those surveyed said they would buy a diesel as their next car – down from 23 per cent in 2017’s study – while the number who said they would buy a petrol fell from 60 per cent to 56 per cent.

However, of the respondents who currently drive diesels, 45 per cent said they would stick with that fuel type the next time they buy a car. Of the majority that said they would change to a different fuel type, 74 per cent cited emissions as a reason, the same figure as last year, while 59 per cent were also concerned about future resale values – up from 41 per cent in the 2017 survey.

Simpson added: ‘Among existing petrol car owners, the number intending to switch to hybrid or electric power next time they buy a new car went up from 13 per cent in last year’s survey to 22 per cent.’

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