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A June 2011 survey asked the question "Which one of the following attributes would be MOST important to you in your choice of your next vehicle?" The choices were fuel economy, dependability, low price, quality, and safety. This same question was asked in previous surveys and the results are compared in the graph below.Dependability was chosen most often in nearly every survey, but fuel economy surpassed it in 2011. Thirty percent of the survey respondents indicated that fuel economy would be the most important vehicle attribute, while only 22% of respondents chose dependability.

Most Important Vehicle Attribute
Graph showing the share of respondents that answered the question, Which one of the following attributes (fuel economy, dependability, low price, quality, or safety) would be MOST important to you in your choice of your next vehicle? The question was asked in various years from 1980 to 2011. For more detailed information, see supporting information below.

Supporting Information

Q: Which one of the following attributes would be most important in your choice of your next vehicle?
Year Fuel Economy Dependability Low Price Quality Safety Total
1980 42% 31% 14% 4% 9% 100%
1981 20% 40% 21% 7% 12% 100%
1983 13% 38% 30% 11% 9% 101%
1985 8% 41% 29% 12% 10% 100%
1987 4% 44% 31% 8% 14% 101%
1996 7% 34% 11% 19% 29% 100%
2000 11% 33% 11% 22% 24% 100%
2001 11% 30% 8% 22% 30% 100%
2004 22% 26% 10% 19% 23% 100%
2005 12% 33% 7% 21% 28% 100%
2006 20% 28% 7% 20% 26% 100%
2007 21% 30% 7% 17% 24% 100%
2008 27% 27% 8% 15% 23% 100%
2009 24% 29% 10% 19% 18% 100%
2011 30% 22% 8% 18% 22% 100%

Source:
For 1980-87: J. D. Power (data based on new car buyers).
For 1998: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 707089, February 19 – 22, 1998, N = 1,019.
For 2000: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 709318, August 3 – 6, 2000, N = 1,013.
For 2001: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 710288, July 12, 2001, N = 1,004.
For 2004: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 713228, May 27, 2004, N=949.
For 2005: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 714209, May 20, 2005, N=1012.
For 2006: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 715238, June 8, 2006, N=1,007.
For 2007: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 716328, August 9, 2007, N=1010.
For 2008: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 717318, August 3, 2008, N=1,005.
For 2009: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 718339, August 14-17, 2009, N=1003.
For 2011: Opinion Research Corporation International for NREL, Study # 720229, June 3 - 6, 2011, N=1,011.

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