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Global Automotive Survey Finds Nearly Six in Ten People Prefer Green Cars, Even If Money No Object

Market research firm Synovate released new study findings showing that nearly six in ten people would choose to buy a green car over a dream car, even if money was no object. Synovate surveyed more than 13,500 people across 18 markets, including the US, about “green” versus “dream” cars, vehicle ownership, intent to buy in the next year and attitudes towards cars, traffic, public transport and their need-for-speed.

Synovate asked respondents to forget about money for a moment and say whether they would buy green, dream or in between.

The top answer across all 18 markets, if money was no object, was to buy a green car, with 37% of respondents saying this would be their preference. Thirty percent said they would buy their dream car and a further 22% claimed that &ldqou;my dream car is a green car”, meaning that 59%—or very nearly six in ten—showed the desire to go green.

Car makers are producing more and more options that will appeal to this fast-growing group of green-inclined people. But we cannot forget that cars are the ultimate product when it comes to an emotional connection with people. What you drive says more about you than you think. There will always be a group of people who do not want to compromise on dream cars for green reasons. The answer? The 22% who want both are the way of the future. Car makers will produce vehicles that are dream and green.

—Scott Miller, Synovate’s CEO of Motoresearch

Some of the other findings of the survey include:

  • The nation most likely to simply elect green car was Germany, with 58% choosing the environment over their dream cars.

  • The 30% of people globally who would still choose their dream car, green-be-damned, comprised of 35% men and 27% women.

  • The single biggest result for dream car came from South Africa where over half of all respondents (53%) would go for their fantasy vehicle over a green one.

  • In the United States (US), 35% would buy a dream car, 23% chose green and 19% say their dream car is a green car. More American women than men say that their dream car is a green car (20% women versus 17% men).

  • Overall, 15% of respondents across all 18 markets surveyed, including 9% in the US, say they will buy a new car in the next 12 months. The new car purchase intenders were topped by India at 38% and Egypt at 24%.

  • 6% of survey respondents across the 18 markets say they will buy a used car in the next year, including 7% of Americans. 53% would be happy to pay more for a used car if it came with a manufacturer certification and warranty.

  • South Africa (18%) as well as the US, Malaysia and Thailand (all 15%) were tops among the households globally in which more than two cars can be found.

  • 14% of respondents across the 18 markets say they will use public transport more often in the coming year. The highest level of agreement was in China at 39%. The lowest level of agreement was in the US at 2%.

  • 9% of people globally, including 5% of Americans, said they would be riding bikes or walking more often.

Two car households will become one car households. More and more, owning a car may not be viewed as that responsible. Smart car makers are already working to find types of vehicles and performance characteristics that will not make people feel responsible for environmental damage; and working to stop the reputation that cars are bad for the world.

So it’s not all doom and gloom—not by a long shot. Quite simply, cars are freedom...and people value freedom above most other things. If they continue to enjoy guilt-free freedom, the car will stay a large part of daily lives for many people.

—Scott Miller

This car survey was conducted in March 2009 across 18 markets—Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (US). It covered more than 13,500 urban respondents.



The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

These surveys are close to useless, since people will mostly give the socially acceptable answers.


Dream and green can be the same car. I personally like the Fisher Karma. If I could afford $80,000 I would definitely consider buying one.

You are right about the socially acceptable responses, what people say and what they do are many times different. If people win the lottery, would they buy a Ferrari or a Prius....hmmm...tough choice :-)


It looks like we will be progressively brain-washed to buy green cars just we were to bu gas guzzling monsters 50 years age.

This may be a start in the right direction.

Lets see where we will be at by 2015.

By 2020, proper behaviour will disfavour the purchase of over-sized gas guzzlers.


No by 2020 they will have created new large cars and trucks that dont run on gasoline.


I think winter may have it right. I drove a 2009 Hyundai Accent as a rental car recently. It is a fine little car, with the emphasis on little. It could seat 4 with room for some luggage, but I would not want to drive one all the time.

We may see roomy SUV crossovers that weight under 4000 pounds and run mostly on electricity. If they can make them safe and affordable, I think they would sell better than little cars...just a thought.

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