Fuel efficiency remains the top concern among new car buyers, and that priority is likely to boost demand for hybrid and electric vehicles during the next five years, according to a report released Thursday by accountancy KPMG.

The survey of some 200 senior auto-industry executives worldwide showed that even as most of them -- 80% -- predict demand for electric and hybrid vehicles rises during the next half decade, many also believe most new car buyers won't be able to afford electric vehicles without government subsidies.

About half of the executives polled were based in Europe, while the remaining half were split equally among Asia and North America.

Despite electric vehicles' lack of affordability, the executives polled said investment in their development is important -- more so than any other currently available alternative-fuel technology. Nearly 90% said they plan to invest in hybrid systems, battery electric power or hydrogen fuel-cell technologies during the next five years.

KPMG's survey, conducted late last year, also showed a trend towards more niche vehicles -- cars and trucks developed specifically for certain tasks or markets. Demand for so-called purpose-built vehicles is expected to grow mostly in Europe and North American, while emerging markets, including China, will remain focused on providing safe, cheap transportation.

Detroit's Big Three Likely to Gain Ground Worldwide

The world's automakers will also be looking for more ways to collaborate on developing and sharing new technology, the report found. Among the major auto companies, 68% are entering alliances or joint ventures with suppliers rather than seeking capital and going it alone in most markets of the world.

Alliances are a good way to get access to specialized technological know-how, in addition to sharing risk and cost," said Dieter Becker, KPMG's global head of automotive research. That's particularly true when it comes to hybrid and electric power-train technology, Becker said, adding that such joint ventures may blur the differences between suppliers and manufacturers.

The survey, also showed a growing number of auto executives expect Ford Motor (F), General Motors (GM) and Chrysler Group to gain worldwide market share during the next five years. However, expectations for Volkswagen (VLKAY), Hyundai Motor and Chinese automakers are even greater.

The percentage of executives who expect Ford's slice of the global pie to increase by 2015 rose to 43% in the current survey, up from 29% a year ago. Similarly, 40% said they expect GM to gain market share worldwide, up from 13% last year, while 24% see Chrysler advancing, up from 7.5% in 2010, when the automaker's future remained uncertain.

"The restructuring efforts of the past several years have helped U.S. auto manufacturers emerge more efficient and more competitive," Gary Silberg, leader of KPMG's automotive industry group.

Despite the radical changes that have taken place in the domestic auto industry, two-thirds of executives said they believe the U.S. has too much production capacity, followed by Japan and Germany. Still, while many believe overcapacity exists, most believe it is lower than a year ago.

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Why does the US auot maker NOT sell diesel powered autos and small trucks in the US?
My meighbor rented a Ford in England about 1 year ago,,,he got 62 miles to the gallon.
Something stinks here, that ussually means the petroleum companies lobby.

January 08 2011 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We are not running out of oil--we are stopped by the gov't and regualations to drill ourselves free of dependency on foreign oil. The Obama administration gave $2 Billion to Brazil so they could drill for oil off of their shores (deep sea drilling.) Millions have been given to Mexico to drill in the Gulf. What does Obama want us to do purchase our oil needs from Brazil & Mexico? We all want alternative fuels but it is not available or too expensive at this time--let us drill for our own energy needs until we can get alternative energy in place.

January 07 2011 at 3:15 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to okitori's comment

Just keep on building V-12 vehicles. Then move on to V-18s, and V-32's. There's lot of oil, and lots of fuel. Only Wall Streeters are trying to convince us that we are running out fuel to manipulate, rigg the market to line their pockets.

January 06 2011 at 1:49 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gondanger1071's comment

Well, I am not as concerned about running out of oil as I am about making our nation energy independent. America has the technology now to go oil free, it is time we stop paying so many tax dollars fighting wars for and subsidizing oil and start spending it on more efficient and clean technologies.

There is ALOT of oil in the USA, but oil has better uses than fuel, such as plastic production. We are wasting this resource by burning it our engines...

January 06 2011 at 9:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Remember Dodge Colts, Chevy Chevelles, Ford Escorts, Toyota Tercels, Honda Civics, NIssan ? , VW Rabbits, etc...

January 06 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We had been there before .. there was once so many fuel efficient cars on the road in America during the Carter Presidency.. Carter ordered carmakers to downsize models and CAFE average soared until Reaganomics came. All hell broke aloose! We must go back again and do even more ... HOw can we buy small models while others buy larger models that can kill us in accidents... If all of us buy small models, we will be all safer..

January 06 2011 at 1:14 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply