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Consumers are willing to pay more and sacrifice performance for vehicles with better fuel economy

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FARMINGTON HILLS, MI--Nov. 4, 2013: Consumers predict higher fuel prices over the coming years and are willing to pay more for fuel economy that meets their expectations and minimizes overall operating costs. These are some of the findings in the most recent Powertrain Acceptance and Consumer Engagement (PACE) syndicated study released today by Morpace Inc.

Fuel economy issues highlight the PACE results, including the fact that 68 percent would sacrifice vehicle performance in favor of improved fuel economy. However, just 48 percent of consumers would be willing to pay more for a vehicle that is environmentally-friendly.

The PACE study also provides detailed information on consumer opinion regarding the powertrain technologies they are most interested in, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. It guides automotive manufacturers and suppliers to make more informed decisions on how to allocate product design, development and marketing budgets.

Among the other specific findings related to fuel economy:

62 percent indicate they would shop different brands of vehicles in order to get the most fuel-efficient model possible; Just 28 percent of vehicle owners report complete satisfaction with the fuel economy for their vehicle (including 14 percent of pickup truck owners and 15 percent of minivan owners); Reliability (77 percent), fuel economy (69 percent) and cost to operate (67 percent) are the three most important powertrain-related reasons for purchasing a vehicle; Innovative and new technologies (31 percent) and being environmentally-friendly (29 percent) were low on the list of importance of powertrain-related reasons for purchasing a vehicle.

"Our clients use PACE as a tool to measure the trends that impact vehicle powertrain design," said Bryan Krulikowski, Morpace Vice President, Automotive. "What is obvious this year is that fuel economy continues to have a significant impact on consumers."

"Powertrain is a critical issue today because consumers are making buying decisions based largely on powertrain performance," Krulikowski said. "Aside from vehicle quality, fuel economy reigns king among vehicle owners."

The specific alternative powertrain technologies covered in the PACE report includes:

Clean Diesel Engines

Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles Battery-Electric Vehicles Turbocharged Gasoline Engines Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Of these technologies, hybrid-electric is the leader in terms of purchase interest, though other technologies are gaining momentum. The PACE study explains how these technologies stack up against each other, as well as the perceived strengths and drawbacks of each.

"While many consumers indicate an initial interest in battery-powered vehicles, real-world challenges remain an obstacle to adoption in the marketplace," Krulikowski said.

Information for the study was gathered from approximately 3,000 U.S. consumers. Consumers were asked a variety of questions on how fuel economy, performance, driving habits, and other attributes impact their interest in next generation powertrains.