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Old 30th August 2016, 00:52   #1
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Default Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

According to a recent global survey conducted by Ford across 11 major Asia-Pacific markets covering 9,509 survey respondents, out of which 1,023 were respondents residing in India, mileage has emerged as the major criteria when choosing a new car.

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Highlights of the survey:

- 6 out of 10 car buyers in India want a fuel efficient vehicle,
- 72% are looking to save money,
- 71% believe fuel-efficient vehicles are more environment friendly,
- 67% of Indian consumers buying a new car give more importance to fuel efficiency,
- 64% think fuel prices are too high,
- more than 60% of the people who buy power over mileage do so for "lifestyle" reasons,
- 60% of Indian customers don't expect stable fuel prices in the next 12 months,
- 57% of car buyers do not consider total cost of ownership at the time of purchase,
- 56% of Indian consumers, who are planning to buy a new car in the next 12 months, will choose a more fuel efficient vehicle rather than outright power,
- 52% (one in two) drivers who own a powerful car say they regret not going for a more fuel efficient model,
- 40% will change driving habits to avoid feeling the high fuel prices' pinch,
- 37% would invest more money for a more efficient vehicle,
- 37% will use public transport more often,
- 34% are looking to buy hybrids or electric vehicles,
- 33% say engine pep and power are bigger draws,
- 33% will drive less to save themselves from high fuel prices,
- 28% of Indian consumers wait for lower fuel prices to top up their cars,
- 17% are planning to downsize to a smaller vehicle.

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Abdul Majeed, partner, PwC:

Quote:
"This focus on fuel efficiency is an Asia Pacific trend because many of the markets in this region are developing economies where cost ownership is a critical factor. Also many of the bigger cities in this region boast 100 million plus population so congestion is a problem. People are realising that power packed vehicles cannot be driven in the cities in this region hence the focus on fuel efficiency."
Kevin Tallio, chief engineer, Engine Engineering, Ford Asia Pacific:

Quote:
"We conducted this survey to learn more about what consumers' attitudes are towards fuel efficiency when they are shopping for a new car. Fuel efficiency remains one of the top concerns. Drivers continue to be sensitive to fuel costs."
TOI

Ford 2016 Understanding Fuel Efficiency Survey PDF

Last edited by RavenAvi : 30th August 2016 at 01:08. Reason: minor edits
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Old 30th August 2016, 01:33   #2
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Default re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Our countrymen are a finicky lot, yet are kind of hypocritical. While I appreciate Ford for doing the survey (most likely done in a bid to see how they can grow sales and also to do a PR release on how they have a pulse on the local mind-set), most of the questions are non-specific and can be interpreted in 'n' ways, if we were to do a Venn diagram between the percentages that want efficiency, or power, or savings.. that will lead to no ground-breaking result at all.

If I may, let me take a look at the survey highlights individually :

- 6 out of 10 car buyers in India want a fuel efficient vehicle > Ok, lesser than I'd imagined but ok.

- 72% are looking to save money > Save how? Very vague, I guess most buyers from a Maruti to a BMW look to save money by way of offers, discounts or lower premiums. Do they mean 28% absolutely don't look to save money?

- 60% of Indian customers don't expect stable fuel prices in the next 12 months > 60% are clever people, I don't expect stability for a month leave alone a whole year.

- 56% of Indian consumers, who are planning to buy a new car in the next 12 months, will choose a more fuel efficient vehicle rather than outright power > Again it depends if they do a lateral purchase (from the same segment they already possess), or if they upgrade, in which case they may choose a larger engine than the one existing, yet since its more fuel efficient than its segment peers it'll satisfy the efficiency over power logic.

- 34% are looking to buy hybrids or electric vehicles > Ok, good numbers to start.

- 17% are planning to downsize to a smaller vehicle > Not much but good enough given that literally no one likes to downsize. Hope that "plan" becomes reality though.

- 67% of Indian consumers buying a new car give more importance to fuel efficiency > Seems about right, even I give importance purely for environmental reasons.. however they've not stated the fact that each segment buyer has his/her own perception of efficiency.

- 33% say engine pep and power are bigger draws > I'm partly in this too, though I'm not about speed at all. Again, this fails to mention what is the mean, median & mode of power-bands as a reference point. For eg for some a 1.2 Brio has pep, but for few others a 2 litre turbo BMW has pep.

- 71% believe fuel-efficient vehicles are more environment friendly > I think 100% should think that, technically the less fuel it burns (petrol OR diesel), the more environment friendly it is, since usage is lessened. Its not like 29% can believe that fuel-efficient vehicles are less environment friendly.

- 64% think fuel prices are too high > Sure they are, but in a way it curbs usage. It seems quite a lot of people are unaffected though.

- 52% (one in two) drivers who own a powerful car say they regret not going for a more fuel efficient model > Ah the everlasting dilemma of power vs paisa.

- more than 60% of the people who buy power over mileage do so for "lifestyle" reasons > Wrong reason, they should buy it to enjoy the drive (responsibly) if I've to be frank.

- 57% of car buyers do not consider total cost of ownership at the time of purchase > Yep, I won't be surprised if 10% of the 57% offload their purchase within a year's time.

- 37% would invest more money for a more efficient vehicle > Way to go.

- 28% of Indian consumers wait for lower fuel prices to top up their cars > Paisa wise, Rupee foolish.

- 40% will change driving habits to avoid feeling the high fuel prices' pinch > Not a bad idea.

- 37% will use public transport more often > Even better idea.

- 33% will drive less to save themselves from high fuel prices >Wonder what the rest of the % will do to save?

Last edited by dark.knight : 30th August 2016 at 01:58.
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Old 30th August 2016, 08:12   #3
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Default re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

I think these are called "leading questions" in legal parlance. The survey title is already fixed beforehand, so you frame the questions in such a way that you get the desired answers/percentages. But if their first question was something like -

What is the topmost priority for you as a car buyer?

a) Brand
b) Low maintenance
c) Features
d) Power
e) Price
f) Fuel economy
g) Looks
h) Reliability

and if fuel economy came on top, then its a fair survey.

In the last 10 years, since the introduction of common rail direct injection diesel engines, I don't think fuel economy is top most concern for car buying public - atleast from what I have seen among my peers. You want good fuel economy, you pick a diesel. After that decision is made (buying a diesel, as against a petrol), buyers don't bother much if fuel efficiency is 15 kmpl or 16 kmpl.

But sure, after a purchase has been made, thanks to cars equipped with MIDs which shows instant fuel economy, the practice of tracking FE keeps the car buyer "engaged". I drove like my pants were on fire and I got 10 kmpl. I kept the engine purring like cat althrough the trip, and I got 16 kmpl

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Old 30th August 2016, 08:30   #4
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Default re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

OK, we're screwed. Enthusiasts, that is.

This is going to set the direction of Ford's vision in India. The few idiots like me who were hoping for Ford to give us (or bring back) a driver-oriented car.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
I think these are called "leading questions" in legal parlance. The survey title is already fixed beforehand, so you frame the questions in such a way that you get the desired answers/percentages.
Quite true - and it can easily be a case of Hanlon's Razor - that it might not have even been an intentional objective. Rather than an open ended question of "What are your priorities in you car?", or a ranked question like yours, asking a question that is easily answered with a yes - like "Is fuel economy a priority in your car?" can itself swing the results. That said, PwC are a big name, so they should know how to keep bias out of surveys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
In the last 10 years, since the introduction of common rail direct injection diesel engines, ... You want good fuel economy, you pick a diesel. After that decision is made (buying a diesel, as against a petrol), buyers don't bother much if fuel efficiency is 15 kmpl or 16 kmpl.
And I really hope Ford realize this - their 1.5 TDCi is a fire-cracker of an engine, with great mileage to boot. Don't mess with that beautiful blend, by trying to optimize fuel economy.

And if Ford ever forget, let me once again remind them of the debacle when they launched the new Fiesta in 2011 with a tax-focused 1.5 Ti-VCT petrol engine instead of the internationally acclaimed 1.6 Ti-VCT petrol engine. The engines differed by just 100 cc, but that missing 100 cc seemed to have taken away all the fun and thrill.
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Old 30th August 2016, 08:44   #5
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Default re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Enthusiasts market is too small for bigger players. It could be a good entry point for smaller / newer players. But they are not able to provide good service / parts support.

Cars are not just one time products that we buy but the whole eco system, right till resale market.

I guess as the market matures enthusiasts niche would also grow to a commercially significant size.
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Old 30th August 2016, 09:04   #6
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Default re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Not just enthusiasts or somebody who is well off - Even cabbies are don't bother much about fuel economy these days. All because all cars have pretty much similar FE numbers. Just look at the wide variety of cabs we have attached to Ola/Uber - Indicas, Indigos, Etios, Amaze, XCent, Puntos (might be driving enthusiast cabbie), Ritz, DZire, Logan etc.

Whenever I sit in an Ola cab and if I detect a chatty cabbie, I pre-empt their rather personal questions (Sir, what do you do? Income is good? How many kids? Which school? What is their fees?) with my own set of car questions -

- How many kms done so far?
- Which cars did you check before buying this?
- Why no Tata?

So far, I have NEVER heard a single cabbie say "I bought this because fuel economy is the best". It's always issues like price, low maintenance, long term reliability etc
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Old 30th August 2016, 11:58   #7
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Default re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Whenever I sit in an Ola cab and if I detect a chatty cabbie, I pre-empt their rather personal questions (Sir, what do you do? Income is good? How many kids? Which school? What is their fees?) with my own set of car questions -

- How many kms done so far?
- Which cars did you check before buying this?
- Why no Tata?

So far, I have NEVER heard a single cabbie say "I bought this because fuel economy is the best". It's always issues like price, low maintenance, long term reliability etc
Dear smartcat,

I like your way of presenting it!
Even I ask 'similar' questions.

Once in Delhi, a taxi driver (in Alto) told me that he loved the car due to its low maintenance cost. I specifically asked him what he meant by that. I even asked him if he meant low fuel cost. He said that fuel cost was additional benefit. The 'other' costs were more interesting to him!

Regards,

Girish Mahajan
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Old 30th August 2016, 14:50   #8
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Ford is merely stating the obvious, but only partly. It's like Maruti releasing a study tomorrow saying 'Indian customers reject over-priced cars'. Fact is, any car in the mass market has to be fuel-efficient, just as it has to be priced well (value, not cost), have certain levels of equipment (relative to competition), space etc.
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Old 30th August 2016, 16:52   #9
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
In the last 10 years, since the introduction of common rail direct injection diesel engines, I don't think fuel economy is top most concern for car buying public - atleast from what I have seen among my peers. You want good fuel economy, you pick a diesel. After that decision is made (buying a diesel, as against a petrol), buyers don't bother much if fuel efficiency is 15 kmpl or 16 kmpl.

But sure, after a purchase has been made, thanks to cars equipped with MIDs which shows instant fuel economy, the practice of tracking FE keeps the car buyer "engaged". I drove like my pants were on fire and I got 10 kmpl. I kept the engine purring like cat althrough the trip, and I got 16 kmpl
Well said! Nobody is going to leave their cars at home, because it gives 15 kmpl instead of 16 kmpl to save money. And everyone know that the real time mileage is very different from what is mentioned as ARAI mileage.
When ARAI mileage is around 22 kmpl, one can be satisfied getting a highway mileage of 18 kmpl and city mileage of 15 kmpl.
Like you said, having a detailed MID in fact pushes one to drive more economically. e.g - My Jupiter scooter has a green light, that glows when I drive without accelerating a lot. This unconsciously makes us believe we are good drivers only if we get green on the display. So, we tend to drive in a relaxed manner more often resulting in a better fuel economy.
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Old 30th August 2016, 20:12   #10
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

I'd have been happy if Ford focussed on what customers expect from their cars or why did someone buy or not buy Ford cars or even asking what more did they want from their products!

This generic query doesn't help them. More than FE, I think a good bunch of customers want low maintenance trouble free cars which has good re-sale & a great network. Am not sure Ford tried to understand these priorities.

Even if Ford gives 30 kmpl from their diesel cars, I doubt it'd be a hit. I PRAY that Ford doesn't trudge on the lines of FE from this survey. They'll have to make really light cars to achieve this and it's going to go downhill from where they are now!
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Old 30th August 2016, 20:58   #11
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Whatever Ford!
I am just happy that 400-500 BHP cars like mustangs, chargers, corvettes don't ply on Indian roads commonly yet. We are not ready for that and don't want it either. Let that be exclusive for the enthusiast only who really know that 'With great power comes great responsibility' With the kind of traffic sense and education along with how our traffic management works its a good thing that common man wants a fuel efficient cars. It would be like death race on our roads if everyone gets their hands on powerful cars easy.
I remember a decade back I used to think why we don't have powerful cars or motorcycles in India, but now when I look at all that has changed in last decade I will say that our automobiles are becoming more powerful slowly and steadily and that's a good thing. A 200 BHP Swift at let's say a price tag of 10L would become a killing machine. But if an enthusiast who really understand 'cars' wants, he can build a 200 BHP machine and that car would be arguably more safer in his hands than that of an average joe who wants to display his driving skills (or rather lack of it) on public roads after he just won a race in NFS.
On a lighter note, let's not forget that the most common question people generally ask even when they think of upgrading their tyres or even lights is: Is it going to effect the FE?

Last edited by wrongturn : 30th August 2016 at 21:02.
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Old 31st August 2016, 08:07   #12
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Responses to such surveys from the masses will be intuitive and their behavior many a times show different attributes when actually buying a car.

Hope, that was factored as one of the limitations of the survey before drawing inferences.

An enthusiasts response may be more close to probabilities.
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Old 31st August 2016, 09:44   #13
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Two simple factors: "value for money" in the showroom and "lower cost of ownership" on the road. The role of FE in lowering the cost of ownership has been exploited to its full potential already and is no longer a competitive advantage. The focus should be on service costs, reliability, warranty, etc. and developing EVs which is hard work and Ford seems to prefer doing dumb surveys. I hate it when mass players like Ford pretend they don't know why Toyota sells a lot more.
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Old 31st August 2016, 10:09   #14
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

It would have been better if the data was available separately for different segments. (e.g. I don't think the data distribution will be the same for cars in the 5 lakhs bracket and the 20 lakhs bracket)
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Old 31st August 2016, 16:59   #15
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Default Re: Fuel economy is the topmost priority for most car buyers in India: Ford survey

Wonder they how they came about releasing an Endy 3.2 4x4 AT or EcoSport 1.5 AT both of which give poor FE.

The study would also have a cross reference to segments like (SUV lovers or Affluent Class etc. ) and those these may be lower segments in Qtty like those buying Luxury Vehicles yet the segment is substantial enough to sustain many Brands and FE does not matter in this segment.
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