Author(s)

Christopher Nelson

Date Approved

12-9-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Public Relations

Department

Public Relations/Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

Basso, Joseph

Subject(s)

Diesel automobiles;Consumer behavior

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

Cars with small diesel engines make up a large part of the automobile market in virtually every region of the world but the United States. In this study, the researcher sought to determine if there are preexisting attitudes toward diesel fuel and engines among American consumers and whether those attitudes affect consumers' expressed opinions (i.e. buying habits) which contribute to that disparity. The researcher carried out two studies. The first was a modified Delphi study of public relations professionals in the automotive field. Respondents were given several basic questions regarding diesel engines in the American market followed by a series of rank-ordering exercises of their initial answers. Based upon responses, the researcher formulated a survey instrument to determine actual attitudes, administered to Rowan students between the ages of 18 and 25. From the discussion with the experts and the results of the survey, the researcher determined that, although many negative preconceptions of diesel engines and diesel-powered cars exist, they are not as numerous and ingrained as expected. Though the majority of respondents stated that they would not consider purchasing a diesel-powered car, many also indicated that they would reconsider that decision if exposed to more information on the subject.

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