Oct 262011

Within the psychology of what determines why one person decides to opt for an environmentally-friendly car and why another person opts for a standard diesel or petrol variety is one key motivating ingredient – price. According to new research by Specific Media, the problem is that too often, advertisers of green vehicles produce confusing messages about what their car can and can’t do without factoring in the importance of price.

It was found that consumers are ‘cynical and wary’ of marketing messages about eco cars due to the fact that too often these statements are not ‘informative and clear’. Some 87 per cent of motorists were found to consider price the most important consideration when deciding which car to buy, while 79 per cent were concerned about fuel consumption. By comparison, only about one-quarter of drivers factored in the environmental impact of a vehicle purchase and just 5.7 per cent considered this to be the most important issue. At the same time, nearly 80 per cent of car buyers would consider a green vehicle.

In other words, car manufacturers are clearly missing the point in the way that they are trying to market their vehicles. Just as advertisers have focused on the ‘dream’ or aspiration quality of petrol and diesel cars in the past (how many car ads can you think of in which functionality or price are prominent ideas?), with eco cars they are falling into a similar trap. However, it appears a more tangible message would be more productive. Too many eco car ads revolve around the exaggerated imagery of a vehicle that is just about to save the planet ― an image the viewer clearly remains skeptical about.

The solution is perhaps as simple as suggested by this latest advertising research. Fuel efficiency and cost efficiency are increasingly becoming the same thing. Gone are the days in which a green car was a ludicrously expensive machine which didn’t go very fast and struggled to make it 10 miles before a recharge was due.

Nowadays, green cars have come down massively in price and are certainly much more user-friendly, particularly the hybrids that have come onto the market such as the Toyota Prius. They represent a huge reduction in the average fuel bill at a time when household incomes are being squeezed and oil prices are going through the roof.

Toyota Prius * Eco Car

Toyota Prius * Eco Car

But when was the last time you saw an advert for a green vehicle that brought home these messages? The obvious key to widespread acceptance of green vehicles is making sure that they do what petrol and diesel cars can do while doing so at lower costs and lower emissions. With these givens, there would seem to be no reason to choose a traditional petrol engine over a green car.

In terms of the technology, we are nearly there. On the retail price of the hardware and in regards to the cost of powering green vehicles versus petrol engines, we are there already. On advertising, however, it seems there is still some leg work to do.

We at uk eco cars like to concentrate not only on the ecological effect a vehicle has but also on how economical it is on our pockets.

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