Marketing Clean Diesel Cars to Skeptical Consumers

Volk­swa­gen of Amer­i­ca just con­duct­ed the Clean Diesel IQ Sur­vey to find out what’s going on inside the minds of con­sumers about diesel-pow­ered pas­sen­ger vehi­cles. This sur­vey includ­ed groups of dri­vers using diesel engine vehi­cles, gaso­line engine, and hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles.  Among the find­ings:

  • A bit over 50% of gaso­line and hybrid dri­vers under­stand that diesel vehi­cles are very fuel effi­cient these days.
  • Gaso­line and hybrid dri­vers tend to over-esti­mate the pay­back peri­od where the diesel vehicle’s fuel effi­cien­cy off­sets the high­er cost of a diesel pow­er­train.
  • The groups are split on the noisy/smelly issue – more than a third of gaso­line and hybrid dri­vers still think diesel-engine vehi­cles are noisy and smell bad, ver­sus less than 5% of diesel dri­vers.
  • 94% of cur­rent diesel vehi­cle own­ers want to buy anoth­er diesel-pow­ered car.
  • The study finds that own­ers of gaso­line-pow­ered vehi­cles are more like­ly to go diesel than are hybrid own­ers.
  • So, there are two chan­nels for deal­ers mar­ket­ing diesel-engine vehi­cles: car­ry the mes­sage to gaso­line-pow­ered vehi­cle car shop­pers, and get cus­tomers to check out and dri­ve a clean diesel vehi­cle. “We know that once a dri­ver expe­ri­ences a clean diesel vehi­cle, they become ded­i­cat­ed to the diesel pow­er­train,” said Volkswagen’s Dou­glas Sko­rup­s­ki.


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