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Driving Change, a new consumer report from BMW

A new report from BMW identifies that buyers want to reduce emissions and improve consumption, but not at the expense of driving enjoyment.

Drivers are ready to buy more energy efficient cars but only if they can still deliver the highest levels of driving dynamics. And while modern-day motorists are opting for lower emission cars, it’s not to save the planet, it’s because the cars will be kinder to their wallets.

While the environment is fast becoming an issue, with 20 per cent of Britons now saying they look at CO2 levels when buying a new car, new research announced by BMW today also reveals their honest motivations. Three quarters of motorists would purchase a lower-emissions car only if it saved them money. These are the conclusions of the Driving Change report in which BMW quizzed 2,068 motorists.

When questioned why they thought people choose to drive a more environmentally friendly car, 59 per cent of respondents identified lower bills as being the main reason whereas only 13 per cent cited reduced emissions as the key motive.

In the current economic environment and with higher-than-usual fuel costs, the report highlights how choosing a more fuel efficient car can make substantial savings. Using BMW’s EfficientDynamics technologies, all BMW cars are more fuel efficient than their competitors. According to independent studies, the BMW 123d Coupé uses £127.52 less fuel per 10,000 miles than its closest competitor.  In addition, the BMW 318d SE Saloon uses £182.55 less fuel per 10,000 miles than the Mercedes C-Class C 200 CDi Elegance.

And the savings don’t stop there. Motorists who buy lower emission vehicles pay less in car taxes, while higher polluting cars are likely to depreciate more as demand increases for low emission vehicles.

The report highlights that it’s not enough to simply be seen in a more efficient car.  21st century consumers have high expectations – as well as low fuel costs, they are demanding premium performance as well. And contrary to popular perception, cars can be both fuel efficient and powerful – BMW makes models that can hit 140mph and return 70mpg.

Richard Hudson, Marketing Director for BMW UK, said: “This report has provided tremendous insights into the honest motivations for today’s consumers. It’s all very well to offer more efficient products, but unless the quality and performance also progress, they simply won’t sell.”

As one in five Britons says their carbon footprint is now their top priority when choosing a car, compared to zero stating this two decades ago, motorists are also becoming more aware of their options. The survey reveals more than one in two people (54 per cent) correctly say a diesel-engined car is more efficient over long distances than a current, comparably-sized, hybrid.

Indeed, independent studies into fuel economy show BMW’s diesel models fare better on long motorway journeys than similar vehicles from Audi and Mercedes and even the hybrid Toyota Prius.

While many drivers believe current hybrid vehicles have shortcomings and are not always the cleanest and most efficient, or the best driving experience, the industry is moving towards cleaner energy. And Driving Change reveals that over a third of Brits (36 per cent) believe the car manufacturing industry has done more than any other to reduce carbon emissions.

Hudson continues: “In the current climate, finance is an overwhelming issue and external factors like the Government’s CO2-related taxes and the rising cost of fuel are all having an impact. More and more people are considering emissions alongside their longer-term cost savings when buying cars. On top of that is a social pressure about the environment that models featuring BMW EfficientDynamics technologies work well to relieve. They balance the desire for high performance and an engaging driving experience with improved fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.”

In facing the challenges of 21st century living where consumers demand excellence in performance, lower costs and less impact on the environment, Driving Change reveals that the industry has responded – through innovation, new technology and real results.

The BMW EfficientDynamics programme is inspiring engineers to constantly evaluate ways in which BMW models can be significantly more fuel-efficient whilst continuing to develop the driving experience. And to highlight the success of the programme, over 800,000 EfficientDynamics-equipped cars will be sold by the BMW Group worldwide in 2008. The EfficientDynamics principle has led to an evolving array of innovations that benefit the driver by reducing fuel consumption and emissions levels and, crucially, saving them money, whilst still improving performance.