Car company bosses say they believe that consumers will opt for fuel-efficient low-cost cars and hybrids rather than SUVs and luxury cars over the next five years.
That's the conclusion drawn by American audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG from its annual global survey of automotive leaders.
The KPMG survey, based on interviews with 140 senior vehicle manufacturing and automotive supply executives around the globe, found they believe that, increasingly, quality and fuel efficiency will be the two main criteria consumers will use in deciding which car to buy.
The KPMG survey asked motor industry executives for their opinions on several vehicle categories. Their responses ranked hybrid cars — which combine two power sources, usually petrol and electricity — number one, at 88 percent, and low cost cars second, at 79 percent. Hybrids and low cost cars ranked significantly above all other categories.
At the other end of the spectrum, most of the executives said they believe that sales of larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles will decline over the next five years, with only 35 percent predicting an increase in luxury car sales and 36 percent expecting sales of SUV to rise. They were slightly more optimistic on minivans, at 40 percent. Only 24 percent expect pick-up trucks to increase market share in the next five years.
North American executives were more likely see a rise in hybrids and low-cost cars. European and Asian executives were more optimistic on the sale of larger vehicles, such as minivans and SUVs, and Asian respondents were more optimistic about luxury vehicles and pick-up trucks.
Eighty-seven percent of the executives surveyed said that car-buyers will mostly base their purchase decision on quality; 84 percent said fuel efficiency will be a key decider. Those factors ranked much higher than affordability, at 68 percent, and significantly higher than sales incentives, at 47 percent.
Forty-five percent of the executives said that a sizable proportion of American consumers would begin to move away from less fuel efficient vehicles if gasoline prices rose to between $3 and $3.50 a gallon.