Why Do Americans Can’t Comprehend Hybrids and Electric Cars


MONTVALE, N.J., — For 50 years, Americans focused on things like horsepower, color, and design when deciding which car to buy. Today, that decision includes a lot more mystifying choices, including how the vehicle is powered – Is it a hybrid? Will it be electric? Can it take regular gasoline or diesel fuel? A new survey from Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) conducted online in July 2010 by Harris Interactive suggests that Americans are having difficulty figuring out what you should make of all these choices, and as a result, many are holding off on purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV).

The survey found that nearly one in two adults (48%) would be interested in purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle however they are not sure regarding what type to get (e.ghybrid, . and electric diesel) and merely about one out of three (35%) say they know which types of AFVs are best for various driving situations (e.gsuburban, city and . highway). Actually, more adults claim to be knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the causes of the global financial crisis, the difference between bad and good cholesterol and the amount of oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, than they are about the distinction between various types of alternative fuel vehicles.

The end game is zero-emissions driving that doesn’t simply transfer the issue. And, while that is still in the future, each alternative fuel vehicle we introduce is a part of that direction, providing key findings and helping acclimate consumers to new technology, said Sascha Simon, head of advanced product planning at Mercedes-Benz USA. Our goal at Mercedes-Benz is to provide a portfolio of options for our customers for them to choose the vehicle that matches their lifestyle and to further the understanding and, ultimately, the adoption rate for these particular new technologies.

Details on each option is located on the Thinking Green part of Mercedes-Benz’s website at http: //www.mbusa.com/mercedes/innovation/thinking_green/overview. The internet site includes information on Mercedes-Benz’s BlueTEC clean diesel vehicles (E350 BlueTEC, ML350 BlueTEC, GL450 R350 and BlueTEC BlueTEC), hybrid vehicles (S400 HYBRID, ML450 HYBRID and hydrogen electric vehicles (B-Class F-Cell), flexible fuel options as well as methods for driving green.

Among the findings from the MBUSA/Harris Interactive survey:

A vast majority of U.S. adults (71%) say they are not at all or only somewhat knowledgeable about the difference between various types of alternative fuel vehicles.

One in four adults (25%) is not at all familiar with the difference between various types of alternative fuel vehicles.

More adults claim to be knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about what causes the global financial disaster (34%), the difference between good and bad cholesterol (45%), and the quantity of oil containing spilled in the Gulf of Mexico (46%) than about the difference among various alternative fuel vehicles (29%).

Men are more likely than women to mention they are knowledgeable or very knowledgeable (41% vs. 18%, respectively).

More than half of adults (58%) have never considered purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle, while nearly two in five (39%) have. Only three percent already own one.

Regarding the Survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Mercedes-Benz USA from July 9-13, 2010 among 2,242 adults ages 18 and older. Results were weighted as needed to reflect the composition of the Usa adult population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Donna Boland.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is among the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant understanding of actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a variety of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs,telecommunications and energy, financial services, restaurant, insurance, media and retail and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 territories and countries through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris concentrates on delivering research solutions that assist us – and our clients – stay prior to what’s next. For more information, check out www.harrisinteractive.com.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, customer and marketing service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the usa. MBUSA offers drivers one of the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class for the flagship S-Class sedans along with the SLS AMG supercar.

MBUSA is also in charge of the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans in the US. More details on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.mbsprinterusa.com.