Consumers are “cynical and wary” of eco car ads

Car marques are confusing drivers with green messaging in advertising and should focus on price, to encourage sales.

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Consumers are “cynical and wary” of green messages in car advertising, because they are not “informative or clear”, according to a study by digital agency Specific Media.

The study highlights that car brands could be missing out on sales by focussing on green messages without putting it in to cost terms for cash-strapped consumers.

It found that price is the most important factor for 87% of all motorists when buying a new car, followed by fuel consumption (79%).

Only a quarter of motorists consider the environmental impact of vehicles when buying a new car and only 5.7% cite eco factors as most important.

While almost eight in ten (78%) of motorists would consider buying a “green” car, more than half (57%) would not pay a premium for it.

Earlier this year, the Government outlined proposals for car marques to include information on costs in brand communications to help consumers make more sustainable choices. Volkswagen’s current “Think Blue” ad (pictured), outlines the car manufacturers commitment to sustainability.

Chris Worrell, European research manager at Specific Media, says: “Contrary to popular perception, there is not an army of environmental car crusaders waiting to go green. This research shows that by highlighting the environmental credentials of their models, manufacturers are not only speaking to just a tiny fraction of their potential audience, they may actually be turning consumers off their brands.

“The continuing economic uncertainty means that the majority of consumers are concerned with hard financial benefits. Online advertising allows manufacturers to develop distinct messages for specific cohorts of consumers, so brands should be looking to deliver tailor-made messages.”

Specific Media interviewed 1,009 UK driving license holders between via the Research Now panel in July.

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