Over 80% of Malaysian consumers put fuel efficiency of higher importance than power when purchasing a new car, according to a survey by GlobalWebIndex on behalf of Ford Motor Company.

Over 9,500 consumers were surveyed across 11 markets around Asia Pacific – Australia, China, Hong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam – in a survey that ended in June.

When asked the reasons for prioritising fuel efficiency, 87% of Malaysian respondents said it was because they needed to save money, while 63% stated an interest in environmental-friendliness and 60% cited concerns about high fuel prices.

Besides that, 38% of drivers who currently own a powerful car said they regret not purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

“We conducted this survey to learn more about what consumers’ attitudes are towards fuel efficiency when they are shopping for a new car,” said Kevin Tallio, chief engineer, Engine Engineering, Ford Asia Pacific. “Fuel efficiency remains one of the top concerns. Drivers continue to be sensitive to fuel costs, no matter what the price is at the pump,” said Ford Asia Pacific Engine Engineering chief engineer Kevin Tallio.

Users also use various ways to save money at the pump, with 55% only visiting fuel stations where they get points for filling up, 31% waiting for lower fuel prices before topping up and 20% always using discount coupons to refuel.

Drivers are also starting to change their driving behaviors, with more than 47% saying they will change their driving habits to use less fuel and 36% planning on driving less over the next 12 months.

Most Malaysians, at 77%, said they would put extra money towards savings if they saved 20% every month, while 54% said they would put the money towards their family.

“The rising cost of living due to the unstable economy has had a profound impact on Malaysians’ willingness to spend,” said Ford in a statement.

The survey showed there is a general wariness about Malaysia’s fuel prices, with 68% of respondents saying they don’t trust fuel prices to stay stable over the next year, but it also showed many Malaysians are unaware of longer-term strategies for saving money.

One in three (37 percent) of those surveyed admit that they do not consider the total cost of ownership – fuel and vehicle maintenance – when shopping for a new car

Only 37 percent say that they would invest more money at the time of purchase on a more efficient engine in order to save money on future fuel costs

Despite this, there are signs of gradually changing behaviour among Malaysians, as many consumers planning to buy a new car in the next year are considering more fuel-efficient vehicles – 52% plan to buy a vehicle with a more fuel efficient engine, 39% plan to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle and 21% plan to downsize to a smaller vehicle.

However, their choice is made difficult by the fact that Malaysians also value performance, with 68% saying they consider performance as a factor when buying a new car, with 70% of city residents stating they were motivated by performance, compared to 59% of rural residents.


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