More than 80% of Asian car consumers are aware of some form of alternatively fueled vehicle, with Toyota and Honda being the brands most associated with alternative vehicle development, according to a recent Synovate Motoresearch Alternative Fuels consumer study.
In the first syndicated study of its kind, Synovate Motoresearch surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, who recently purchased a new vehicle or intend to purchase one in the next year, to determine their familiarity with alternative fuel technologies, their perceptions of alternative fuel vehicles and their likely purchasing behavior.
Synovate Motoresearch Global Director Jon O’Loughlin said the study revealed a high level of awareness among consumers in Asia regarding alternative fuel vehicles but also highlighted negative perceptions regarding costs of ownership, the availability of the fuels themselves and the reliability of such vehicles.
Consumers across Asia are generally quite aware of developments in the alternative fuel vehicle market, as well as the factors motivating the development of such technology. However, the survey also reveals a need for governments and companies to familiarize respondents with details about alternative fuels, including the positive aspects of these vehicles' performance and reliability.—Jon O’Loughlin
Overall familiarity across Asia is relatively high for many types of alternative fuel technology vehicles, including hybrid electric, battery electric and direct-injection diesel.
Consumers in Indonesia and the Philippines had the highest levels of awareness of direct-injection diesel vehicles, with 91% of respondents in each country having at least heard of the technology, while consumers in Taiwan (86%) and Thailand (84%) had the highest levels of awareness of battery-electric vehicles.
O'Loughlin said despite the strong findings on consumer awareness, there was an urgent need for global consolidation of alternative fuel technology before this would develop into purchase behavior.
Car manufacturers are working with alternative fuel companies to develop different vehicle prototypes, but all parties are hesitant to put too much effort into promoting such products until a leading alternative fuel technology is identified globally.
A little like the competition between VHS and Betamax video recorder technology 25 years ago, until a leading technology emerges, in-depth knowledge and purchases of alternative fuel cars is likely to remain relatively limited for at least the next three to five years as no company wants to promote a technology that may end up redundant.—Jon O’Loughlin
In terms of consumer perceptions, Toyota presently dominates all markets except Indonesia. Honda is the first choice for Indonesian consumers, the second choice for consumers in Malaysia and the Philippines and the third choice for Thai consumers.
Volkswagen, Ford and Mitsubishi were other brands associated with alternative fuel technology by Asian consumers.