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2018 Continental Mobility Study finds motorists remain loyal to engine type

According to the 2018 Continental Mobility Study, an overwhelming majority—more than 80% of respondents in Germany and China and more than 90% in the US—would choose the same type of engine as their current car. The only country open to change is Japan, where at least a quarter of respondents said they would consider a different type of engine.

The drivetrain people use have no bearing on their willingness to change; around 10% of motorists surveyed in China and Japan drove hybrid vehicles or electric cars. More than 80% of this group said they would remain loyal to electric drivetrain concepts when buying a new car.

The results clearly show that motorists nowadays still tend to be conservative when choosing engine types and stick to what they know. This is something that must be considered in the move toward electric mobility, along with long-standing concerns regarding vehicle range. Yet we envisage much higher acceptance of alternative drivetrain concepts in the years to come, when there is a broader range of vehicles available and the general conditions become more attractive—such as tax breaks for company cars.

—Andreas Wolf, president of Continental’s Powertrain division

For the 2018 Continental Mobility Study, the technology company commissioned market and social research institute infas to conduct a representative survey of drivers in the US, Japan, China and Germany. Experts from science and the automotive industry were also interviewed.

A considerable number of respondents drove a diesel car—around 30% in Germany alone. Around a third of these diesel drivers could see themselves switching to another type of engine, with 17% actually planning to do so. Aside from diesel drivers, in Germany, only young motorists aged 30 and under show a certain willingness to change, with roughly one in five young drivers saying they would consider a different engine type for their next vehicle.

In Germany, the study also addressed the diesel crisis. It revealed mixed views among respondents in Germany on who is to blame. Twenty-six percent laid the blame with politicians, 11% stated a mix of reasons and 6% thought that environmental protection associations were responsible. Thirty-nine precent of motorists aged 31–45 blame politicians, as do 40% of all respondents in Germany in this age group. Only 50% name the automotive industry as exclusively responsible for the diesel crisis.

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