Fuel economy is one of those things that car buyers really care about.

We know this because they tell us so. Our recent fuel economy infographic revealed that fuel economy is mentioned in 10.45% of all written car reviews on the Reevoo network. 54% are positive and the other 46% are negative – which might seem like quite a few negative mentions, considering the tens of thousands of written reviews taken into account.

But are carmakers really pumping out gluttonous gas-guzzlers? Or do we have a simple communication issue on our hands?

Let’s delve a little further into the research, and look at the conversations surrounding fuel economy in the Reevoo ask-an-owner community.

fuel economy

At Reevoo we’ve made a nifty little tool that matches people asking questions about the cars they’re looking to buy with the car owner most likely to have the answer. Our pool of question-answering car owners is comprised of people who opted in to the ask-an-owner community after writing a Reevoo review.

16% of questions asked by people are about fuel economy.

They tend to fall into four categories:

Those who are sceptical of manufacturers’ fuel economy claims:

fuel economy

Those that want more information or simply information from another source:

fuel economy

Some are confused due to hearing contradicting info about fuel economy:

fuel economy

Finally, those that want to hear from others about how to improve fuel economy:

fuel economy

Whatever the reality, there’s definitely a perceived lack of reliable, trusted information out there about fuel economy. People are very sceptical of the numbers provided by manufacturers – and, in light of recent scandals, can you blame them?

When people want information they can trust, they go to a fellow consumer. And in this case, their questions were answered.

The car owners were quick to provide their honest answers on the fuel economy they were achieving, with real context.

fuel economy

Here’s an interesting trend from the data – it seems the lower the cost of the car under consideration, the more questions there were about fuel economy.

Reevoo_automotive_piece2_chart_v.2

So what can we take away from this?

fuel economy

One thing is clear – car buyers want information from different sources. They want to compare the brand’s official spin with information from ‘people like them’ to make their own decision.

Highlighting the experiences of real car buyers alongside their own info is an easy way for brands to provide this. They can (and should) do it on their websites, in their showrooms – anywhere prospects interact with them. Hosting this kind of content themselves, and not leaving it to be found in other places, helps car brands give the complex purchase journey a little more linearity.

Brands also have to realise, especially in the wake of recent scandals, that consumers are distrusting of how they work out the fuel consumption figures in the first place. With that in mind, here are two ways to ease this distrust:

• Be more transparent about how these figures are obtained;
• Provide a number of figures for different driving styles (highway, test track, city traffic etc).

On the positive side; the popularity of our ask-an-owner tool shows that car buyers are engaged and actively looking for information. If brands are well placed to provide it, they’ll win the business.

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Car buyer confessions