Consumer Behaviour And Attitudes For Purchase Of Electric And Hybrid Cars: A Comparison Between European And Middle East/Mena Market

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In this research work, the researcher has tried to investigate the relationship between consumer attitude and behaviour and their purchasing habits of electric and hybrid cars. The existing literature has helped the researcher to gain vivid understanding about concept of customer behaviours and attitude. The researcher also comes across various theories of customer behaviour and attitude. The researcher has mentioned the relationship between the attitude and purchasing behaviour of customers. The primary aim of this study is to determine how this behaviour of customers influences their purchasing decisions towards hybrid and electric cars, In order to make the study realistic and practical the researcher uses a comparative analysis between European and Middle East markets.

For the purpose of the study, the researcher uses interpretivism research philosophy, deductive approach and descriptive design in order to conduct the study smoothly. The study is mainly based on secondary data. Hence, the researcher makes a qualitative analysis of the secondary data available. By analysing the secondary data, the researcher is able to understand the perception and attitude difference of the customers of Europe and Middle East. Europeans are more open minded and greater aware of the environmental problems faced by the world. Hence, they are motivated to purchase these electric and hybrid cars. These fuel-efficient cars are economical and safe.

On the other hands, the Middle-East customers are conformist in nature. They have a restricted and conservative approach that influences their purchase. They feel reluctant to take risks and feel more comfortable with their expensive and luxury cars. Moreover, the presence of abundant oil refineries persuades them to opt for the petrol and diesel cars rather than the greener ones. However, in the present time, sales have significantly grown in both these nations. Governments have provided incentives, subsidies and tax deductions. Various organisations are taking the initiative of making the people aware of the importance of these electric cars.

However, after analysis it has been observed that the researcher has not paid adequate attention to the initiative taken by the governments in order to enhance the infrastructural and facilities and reduce price fluctuations. This will further increase consumer demand. The researcher recommended that greater initiative needs to be taken by the governments in enhancing the technologies of the electric cars. It should also play a pivotal role in spreading awareness regarding the importance of electric and hybrid cars.

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Chapter 1: Introduction

1. Introduction:
In this present research work, the researcher tries to explore consumer behaviour and purchase behaviour towards electric and hybrid cars. Based on existing literature on consumer behaviour and attitudes, the researcher gives the rationale behind conducting this study. The rationale helps the learners to understand the changing attitude and preferences of consumers that influence their purchasing behaviour. The researcher also identifies the gap on the basis of which the problem statement, research aim, objectives and questions are developed. In order to explore the gap, the researcher presents a comparative analysis between the markets European and Middle East based on their purchase of the eco-friendly cars.

1.2 Background of the study:
Environmental challenges have forced the transportation sector to shift to eco-friendly technologies. In the recent times, these electric and hybrid vehicles are considered to be the green transportation solution. In order to make the eco-friendly vehicles more acceptable, transport companies around the world have initiated demonstration project. In UK, the automobile industry and the government have made a total investment of £30 million in the demonstration projects (Smmt, 2015).
Consumer's attitude and preferences towards the hybrid and electric cars have undergone a massive change in the recent years. It has mostly been accepted by the middle income family. In 2010, the global automobile industry witnessed a registration of only 320,000 hybrid and electric vehicles. However, in the beginning of 2013, the number significantly increased to 740,000 (Sullivan, 2014). The Belgian Government had launched a rebate of 30% on the purchase price of the cars. This substantially helped in promoting the cars and making them more acceptable among the consumers.
On the other hand, Stibel (2014) opined that the progress of electric and hybrid cars have been significantly low in the Middle East markets. They have taken small steps in installing the first electric car charging station in the Middle East. In 2014, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority have launched 16 electric vehicle power stations. This station has reduced the carbon footprint and provided environmental protection. In cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, GreenParking had installed 30 charging stations. BMW have sold 50 units of electric and hybrid cars in February 2014. In the present study, the researcher tries to identify and assess the attitude and perception of consumers toward the electric cars.

Background of the markets:
In the European market, the demand of the electric cars has rapidly increased throughout the years. In the beginning of 2014, the sale increased to 77%. Norway witnessed the maximum growth of 34%. This was closely followed by France with an increase of 23%. The sales of Germany and UK are also increased by 15% and 9% consecutively (Stibel, 2014).
However, the growth rate of electric cars in the Middle East has been significantly less in comparison to the European market. The approximate sales of electric vehicles have been around 14000 in 2013. Some of the companies that operate in both the markets are Nissan, Mitsubishi and Honda. This has motivated the researcher to make a comparative analysis of the consumer perception towards purchasing electric cars between both the markets (Sarabia-Sanchez, 2015).

1.3 Rationale of the study:
What is the issue: Massive environmental deterioration has urged consumers to purchase these environmental friendly vehicles. As per the global automobile industry, the middle income group forms the main consumer base. However, Bere and Brug (2013) noted that these environmental cars are not always cost effective. The infrastructure and facilities are also not always appropriate. This has adversely affected the sale. Hence, this forms one the main issues.

Why is it an issue: Due to immense fluctuation of prices, consumers are not always able afford it. Chatzikomis et al. (2014) commented the features and facilities of the car are not appropriate for the climate of the country it operates in. As a result, the consumers feels unmotivated enough to purchase these electric vehicle.

Why is it an issue now: In the recent scenario, even if consumers want to buy them, they hardly can afford it. Moreover, Gamez et al. (2015)stated that in countries like Middle East, air conditioning in cars is given high propriety. However, in electric cars the battery gets drained very easily. Hence, consumers do not feel the urge to purchase it. This constitutes to be an important issue now. It is essential for the companies to identify these technological loopholes.

What could the research shed light on: The present study can help the learners to gain an insight into the ways through which the features and infrastructure of the electric cars can be developed. Along with this, Lawrence (2011) stated that it is also necessary to form a pricing strategy that helps to reduce the fluctuations in price. Through this study, the purpose of the research is to analyse the attitude and perception of consumers that determine their purchasing behaviour.

1.4 Problem Statement:
The problem statement of the current study is regarding consumer behaviour and attitude towards purchasing electric and hybrid cars. It has been observed that the previous researchers have hardly paid attention to the changing behaviour and attitude of consumers that have motivated them to purchase the eco-friendly cars. The present study tries to highlight how the changing attitudes of consumers have determined their purchasing behaviour.

1.5 Research Aim:
The aim of the present study is to identify and explore how consumer attitude determinates their purchasing behaviour toward electric and hybrid cars. For this purpose, the researcher has conductive a comparative study between the market of Europe and Middle East.

1.6 Research Objectives:
The objectives of the present study are:
To identify the benefits of electric and hybrid cars that will influence consumer purchase behaviour in the European and Middle East/MENA markets
To analyse the consumer perception towards purchasing electric car in the European and Middle East/MENA markets
To make a comparative analysis between the customer attitudes of European and Middle East/MENA market
To recommend possible strategies to enhance the features and infrastructure and reduce the price of the electric cars that will increase its sale

1.7 Research questions:
The research questions for the present study are:
What are the benefits of electric and hybrid cars that influence consumer purchase behaviour in the European and Middle East/MENA markets?
What is the consumer perception towards electric car in the European and Middle East/MENA markets?
How is the customer attitude of the European market different than that of the Middle East/MENA market?
What can be recommended to help enhance the infrastructure and reduce the price of the electric cars that will further increase its sale?

1.9 Summary:
In this chapter, the researcher has introduced the topic ‘Consumer behaviour and attitude for purchase of electric and hybrid cars: A comparison between European and Middle East/MENA markets'. Based on the background of this study and the market, the researcher formulates a rationale. This rationale further helps to develop the problem statement, research aim, objectives and questions.

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Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction
In this present chapter, the researcher tries to analyse the existing literature available on this topic. The researcher explains in detail the concept of consumer behaviour and attitudes. In addition to this, various theories of consumer behaviours and perception is also mentioned. The theories help the learners to understand the needs and motivation of the consumers that urge them to purchase the product. A thorough analysis of these theories has also helped the researcher to understand the customer purchase behaviour and uncover their buying intensions. In the latter part, the researcher has contextualised the literature review and has attempted at an analysis of customer perceptions, attitudes and behaviour in the purchase of electric cars.

2.2 Previous research work
The author for the conduct of this present research has taken relevant material from several secondary materials that include certain books, journals and articles. In the article "Integrated Approach to Factors Affecting Consumers Purchase Behaviour in Poland and an Empirical Study" by Dr. Durmaz Yakup & Dr. Sebastian Jablonsk has proved to be a useful article for this research. It has discussed about the various psychological, cultural and social factors that influence customer purchase behaviour. The researcher has conducted primary survey among 500 customers in Poland to understand the effect of personal factors in this regard (, 2015).

Another article was "Consumer Purchasing Behaviors and Attitudes toward Shopping at Public Markets" by James O. Bukenya, Michael L. Mukiibi, Joseph J. Molnar and Arthur T. Siaway. This article has adopted an analytical approach towards assessment o customer attitude toward shopping in public markets. In this context it has also offered critical evaluation of customer buying behaviour in conjunction with several personal factors like education, income and the like (, 2015).

2.4 Analysing the concept of customer behaviours and attitudes
The concept of consumer behaviour basically deals with the desires and ideas of individuals or groups to purchase or sell a product. Sullivan (2014) stated that it is extremely important on the part of the companies to assess the consumer behaviour in order to produce and sale goods. In case of a wrong assessment, the business enterprise is affected drastically. At the ends, the researcher tries to assess the

2.5 Theories of customer perception and behaviour

2.5.1 Attitude Theory:
Hashim et al. (2010) contended that the attitude theory predicts the behavioural intention of consumers. It also provides an important basis for identifying how and where to target consumer. On the basis of this, companies design the production process. In the context of customer purchase behaviour, attitudes primarily have four functions. These are knowledge functions, value-expressive functions and utilitarian functions and ego-defensive.
According to Blythe (2009), the knowledge functions of attitude serve to organise beliefs about a particular object or branding activities. This often shapes the customers' subsequent behaviour. The second one that is value-expressive function bears an individual's value positions and their self-concept. The utilitarian functions are based on formation of positive attitudes towards certain products while having negative attitudes towards the other. The last function attempts at self-defending of their egos and self-images. Therefore, it is clear that the consumers tend to form and organise their thought, feeling and belief about a particular company that affect their purchasing behaviour.
On the other hand, Wagner (2012) focused more on the three components of attitude, namely affective, cognitive and behavioural. The study notes that when affective component comes into play a hedonistic purchase takes place. It is because of the reason that the customer does not take into account the rationality of the decision. The inner feeling of affective inclination towards that product stimulated the customer to buy the product.
In contrast to this, Alshurideh (2013) stated that there might be another possible sequence of attitude formation. Here, the purchase is made on the basis of a belief and thereby develops feeling after the purchase of that product. This shows that the customer is not much willing to process all the available information.
Piacentini and Cui (2012) opined that the level of stability and consistency depends on the amount of involvement allocated to an attitude. This level of involvement will also determine the customer's endeavour to search for relevant information and degree of comparison between alternatives. It determines the extent of rationality involved in the decision making and in the decision rules. The consumer attitudes can be better understood with the behaviour theories with distinguished dimensions of customer purchase decisions.

2.5.2 Consumer behaviour theories:
According to the Consumer behaviour theory, there is a wide range of factors that influence consumers. Robinson (2012) commented that these factors include the building of buying intention, recognition of need, availability of information, evaluation of possible alternatives etc. In this context, customer refers to the end users or the final customers who are primarily concerned with buying goods for personal needs. Consumer behaviour is therefore are the combination of the attitudes, perceptions and activities of the customers orienting towards buying goods or services. It reflects customers' decision regarding purchase, possession and disposition of goods. According to Szmigin and Piacentini (2015), the theory can be grouped into a number of segments. These segments will be based on customer's approach towards the purchase of goods. This includes economic, psychological and socio-cultural dimension of the customers.

The economic aspect, as stated by Brondoni (2009), considers man as an economic being. The economic nature of man is concerned with rational and calculative decision making, attempting to maximise its own gain. Therefore, according to this approach, customers will tend to buy those goods that will give them maximum utility or the highest level of satisfaction. The theory holds that customers acquire a number of information from variety of sources and make a comparative economic analysis.

Cavalcanti et al. (2013) criticised the economic theory and stated that only economic factors alone cannot determine customer purchase behaviour and variations in sales. Rather the study emphasised more on the sociological and cultural factors that play a more significant role in this context. However, Chen et al. (2015) noted that in response to such criticism the economic theory has been revised and modified. It has incorporated in this theory the indifference curve analysis. It focuses on the availability of alternatives and budgetary restrictions of the customers.

Juwaheer et al. (2012) on the other hand, focused on the psychological dimension of the customer purchase behaviour. The approach, in contrast to the economic theory, focuses more on the psychological aspects of the customers. It states that as the income of the customers increase their purchasing ability will thereby increase and hence they will tend to purchase more goods.

As reflected by Chinomona and Sandada (2013) this approach is based on three main propositions. The first proposition states that when the aggregate income of the customers increases, there is also an increase in their consumption expenditure. However, such an increase is not very pronounced. The second proposition states that a person's income increment will not wholly be spent on purchasing goods. They will rather be divided into saving and consumption expenditure.

On the other hand, the third proposition as explained by Adhithya (2014) states that income increment will not necessarily lead to less spending or saving. The theory highlights that the consumers tend to spend less on consumptions in parallel to increase in income.

Hartmann et al. (2014) contended that this approach is not adequate to explicate the various non-income factors that influence customer purchase decisions. The study notes that people primarily learn from past experiences. Therefore, their perception on the brand is a determinant factor in purchasing decisions.

According to Fischer and Hanley (2009), people learn through the process of stimulus response. It explains the customer's post-buying behaviour. The study noted that customer's want and stimulation is the result of the available information and consumer knowledge, beliefs and perceptions. The theory is valuable in explaining the post-purchasing anxiety among the customers. It states that after a calculated purchase of goods the customers start to feel a sort of discomfort. The discomfort arises from the cognitive dissonance that arises from the doubts on the decision taken. This discomfort grows with the further analysis of the available alternatives and identification of the product demerits. At this time the consumer requires an assurance from the seller about the rationality of the decision. However, in contrast to this position, Gabor and Granger (2011) stated that consumers attempt to reduce dilemmas, tensions and conflicts before making a purchase.

Socio-cultural approach of consumer behaviour shifts from the cognitive and psychological dispositions of the individuals and instead focuses more on the social and cultural factors. Kontsas and Lazarides (2014) stated that man is a social being and hence, it tries to conform to the group norms and groups' standard of beliefs and values. Therefore, it states that people will follow more the current fashions and thereby gain social acceptance, irrespective of their personal likes and dislikes.

However, Laukkanen et al. (2014) stated that consumer perceptions and their influence on purchasing decisions is a complex matter. Thereby none of these approaches can be isolated to explain customer behaviour. Rather, an integrative approach combining all the three dimensions can put forward a more comprehensive explanation of customer behaviour. The motivation theory, that has been discussed in the next section is primarily an extension of the three dimension discussed in the Consumer behaviour theories.

2.5.3 Motivation Need Theory
This model explained that individuals have three types of motivation irrespective of their age, sex, culture or race. Blythe (2012) stated that these three motivations are a need for achievement, need for affiliation and need for power. A consumer makes a purchasing decision based on these three motivation factors.

Ritter and Vagn (2012) stated that customers make purchase based on their social affiliation in a particular grouping. The group norms, standards are more important in purchasing decisions of the customers. In contrast, Rudawska et al. (2015) stated that the existential needs are the basic drivers in customer purchase decisions. After the existential needs are met the individuals look for self-esteem or affiliation needs. The self-esteem needs in the customer purchase refer to their perceptions about a particular brand. More is the brand popularity and good brand image, the more the customers show loyalty towards that particular product.

The theories of motivation can help the marketers in constructing their branding strategies. It can help them also in arriving at a better understanding of the customers' needs and desires, product expectation and brand perceptions. The customer's buying pattern is significantly influenced by their motivation to buy a particular object. Therefore, Sakkthivel (2013) prescribed the marketing professionals to conduct focus group interviews and in-depth interviews for understanding their latent motives. The customer motivation towards purchase of a particular product will be analysed under the next point with reference to distinguished stages.

2.6 Analysing the impact of consumer attitude on their purchasing decision
Evans et al. (2009) contended that there are certain factors that influence the purchasing behaviour and attitude of consumers. These are low price, high quality, branded products, word of mouth. Hashim et al. (2010) contended that environmental awareness and protection have been become a current topic in the recent scenario. Individuals are more motivated to adapt technologies that protect and secure their environment. This has greatly persuaded customers to replace their ordinary petrol and diesel cars with the electric and hybrid ones.

Samson and Voyer (2014) stated that it is important to understand the relationship between the attitude of the customers and their subsequent buying behaviour. This is explained by the Theory of Reasoned Action (TORA). It helps in predicting the behavioural intensions of the customers and the influences of other people in their purchasing decisions. It analyses the rational decision-making power of the customers and ability to calculate in order to maximise the gain.

In contrast to this, Wu et al. (2014) stated that in reality, there is a strong probability of emergence of positive correlation between consumer attitudes and their repurchase behaviour. However, this correlation is erroneous and might occur due to biasness in the response and unauthentic data. Thus, there exists a lot of controversy about attitudes of the customers and their buying behaviour. While some agrees that the customers' brand perceptions affect their future purchase decision, others disagree on the same. Those who contends the association between the two variables reasons that the customers' knowledge, past experiences and personality variables has a decisive influence in this regard. Hence, it is too early to establish a relation between the two.

Stage Information required prior to purchase of goods or services Pace of decision-making


Information required prior to purchase of goods or services

Pace of decision-making











Table 1: Stages of consumers' decision-making

In conjunction with the above position, Juwaheer et al. (2012) highlighted three main stages of purchasing decisions of the customers. The first stage is the Extensive Problem Solving (EPS) stage. It occurs when the available information o a particular product is very limited in number. Thus the customers actively seek information about the other alternatives brands. The second stage is the phase of Limited Problem Solving (LPS). This takes place when the knowledge and belief of the customers about a particular brand is partially established. Thus the customer is not been able to fully assess the difference of the brand with the other available brands. The last stage is of Routinised Response Behaviour (RRS). In this stage the customers' knowledge, beliefs and perceptions are clearly defined and well-established. Thus, the customers are able to undertake a comparative analysis and make a rational choice.

However, in contrast to this Laukkanen et al. (2014) argued that there are other factors that affect the decision making process of the customers. These are motives, individual personality attributes, their life styles and social factors like culture, family, reference groups and the like. In the next two sections the researcher has analysed customer attitudes, their perceptions and behaviour toward purchasing electric cars.

2.7 Consumer attitude and behaviour towards purchasing hybrid cars
According to Alshurideh (2013), the global awareness of environment has led to electrification of the transport system. The study notes that since this is a new launch in the market, customers do not have clear perception about its technology and adequate knowledge of the way it works. Thus, it is stated that since the pro-environmental oriented customers will be more inclined towards the purchase of electric cars. On the other hand, Szmigin and Piacentini (2015) stated that those who are interested in this new technology will also purchase electronic vehicles.

Piacentini and Cui (2012) stated since the customers are divided into two main segments they have differential attitudes towards the use of the car. They evaluate the technology and other elements of the car differently and attach diverse symbolic meanings to these vehicles. These are thereby translated into different patterns of purchase of electric cars and their use. Those who are inclined towards this new technology purchase electric cars in addition to fuel cars. On the other hand, those who make purchase out of their environment consciousness replace their current vehicle with electric car.

Alshurideh (2013) noted that there is a complex process o decision-making before the purchase of electric cars. The customers decide on how they will acquire car-based mobility and undertake judgment as of whether electric cars fit their values, motivation and not merely functional requirement.

On the contrary, a study conducted by Kontsas and Lazarides (2014), notes that there is a general low level of awareness about the technology of the electric cars. It noted a mean core of 5.5, whereby a score of 1 stands for no knowledge and a score of 10 represents complete technological know-how of the customers.

Cavalcanti et al. (2013) stated that customers continuously undertakes the cost-benefit analysis and then make decision regarding the purchase of electric cars. This position is compatible with the economic theory o consumer behaviour, whereby individual is above all concerned to maximise personal gain. Therefore, adoption of these hybrid cars takes a much longer time; require comprehensive information and cognitive effort. Here lies the importance of rationality and conscious thought. However, a rational choice model has other elements that limit its application in the context of electric car purchase.

In contrast to this, Hartmann et al. (2014) remarked that consumer preferences are dynamic and more so if measured in a long-term basis. Increased penetration of the electric cars in the market is likely to change the customer buying pattern and the way they value and choose among them. Customer buying behaviour is shaped by a number of factor considerations like advantages and disadvantages of electric cars.

2.7 Comparison between previous and current research work
In contrast to the earlier research work, the present research offers a detailed analysis of the behavioural attributes of the customers in conjunction with a number of relevant theories. In addition the researcher has identified the various stages of research and critically evaluated those in analysing customer purchase decisions. In addition, it has attempted at a contextualisation of the research topic into specific area of electronic car purchase. It had provided insights into the two main segments of customers and their differential perceptions towards hybrid electric cars.

2.8 Summary:
In this chapter, the researcher has analysed the way consumer behaviour influences their purchasing decision. The various theories have also been mentioned in this chapter. The researcher has outlined a conceptual framework in order to state how the literature review has been conducted. In the first part of this research the researcher has discussed various theories n customer perceptions and analysed how it affects the subsequent buying pattern of the customers. It has evaluated the various stages of customer decision-making and presented a critical assessment of the same. The last part of this research has highlighted the customer perceptions, their attitudes and decision in purchasing electric cars.

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Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction:
Research Methodology mainly focuses on a systematic theoretical analysis of the methods that is applied to a particular study. By selecting an appropriate research methodology, a researcher is able to explore and collect data that is relevant for the given study. Research methodology is basically the blueprint of the total research work. In this chapter, the researcher has given an outline of the research methodology that has been considered and has also tried to justify the selection.

3.2 Selection of methodology:
In this present work, the researcher has selected a specific method, design and approach to carry out the study. The researcher has selected an interpretivism research philosophy, Bergh and Ketchen (2009) Interpretivism is also known as anti-positivim because it is cross checking or negating the notion of positivism. Anti Positivism has helped to utilise a qualitative research approach. For the current study, the researcher has mainly focussed on collecting data from secondary sources and analysed it using qualitative techniques.

3.3 Research Onion:

Cooper and Schindler (2010) stated that research onion is an analogy that helps to illustrate various steps for conducting a research. It is an outline or framework that consists of six layers namely, research philosophy, approaches, strategies, choices, time horizon and techniques of data collection. Research onion is useful because it can be adapted by any kind of research methodology.

3.4 Research Philosophy:

Bryman and Bell (2011) opined that research philosophy is basically a belief about the process in which relevant data can be collected, analysed and used for conducting a particular study. There are mainly three types of research philosophy namely, Positivism, Interpretivism and Realism.
Positivism mainly emphasises on the fact that reality exists separately from the topic of study. The notion of post-positivism has evolved as a criticism to positivism. It states that the results derived from social science has a contemporaneous value and is only true for a particular time.

Alternatively, Crowther and Lancaster (2012) contended that Interpretivism has negated the notion of positivism. It is also regarded as anti-positivism and utilises a qualitative research analysis. Interpretivism emphasises that philosophical values and ideas often penetrates human thought and their interpretation. On the other hand, Realism focuses on phenomena that are not abstract and are present in the real world.

3.4.1 Justification for choosing interpretivism research philosophy:
In this research, the researcher has chosen an interpretivism research philosophy. The secondary data have been critically investigated and qualitatively analysed. Moreover, ethnographic and case study strategies have also been utilised. Therefore, the researcher has used anti-positivist research philosophy.

3.5 Research Approach:

As stated by Dul and Hak (2012) that research approach are of two types namely, inductive and deductive. The inductive approach mainly deals with generation of a new theory from the existing data. Conversely, deductive approach focuses on testing a theory. It gradually shifts from a broad subject to a particular topic.

3.5.1 Justification for choosing deductive research approach:
In this study, the researcher has selected a deductive research approach. By following a deductive research approach, the researcher makes an attempt to establish a tentative hypothetical assumption. Based on various empirical evidences, the researcher is able to test the hypothesis. In this research work, the researcher has precisely analysed the literature review. The secondary data has helped to formulate the hypothetical assumptions that will be tested empirically throughout the study. Thus, the researcher finds the deductive research to be most relevant.

3.6 Research Design:

Denzin and Lincoln (2011) asserted that there are three forms of research design. These are Descriptive, Explanatory and Exploratory. Descriptive research mainly deals with describing accurately the participants of a social research with the help of descriptive categories. Hair and Money (2011) described explanatory design as an attempt to explain the relationship of cause-effect behind a particular phenomenon. On the other hand, exploratory study is conducted for a social phenomenon that is not accurately defined. It offers valid assumptions, based on which future studies can be conducted.

3.6.1 Justification for choosing descriptive research design
The current study attempts to provide a critical analysis of the data that already exists. It identifies and describes the pros and cons of using electric and hybrid cars in European and Middle East markets. Therefore, has undertaken a descriptive research design as it is considered to be the most relevant for the present study.

3.7 Methodological strategies:

3.7.1 Data analysis:

As per Burns et al. (2008), data sources are of two types namely, primary and secondary. Primary sources are direct evidences that are left behind by observers and participants at the time of interview and surveys. On the other hand, Bryman and Bell (2011) opined that secondary source refer to existing research literature of various academicians and scholars. Both the primary and secondary data help the researcher to conduct research efficiently and effectively.

In the present study, the researcher has taken the help of only secondary data. As this study mainly emphasises on a comparative study, hence, the researcher has considered the annual sales report of both the markets.

Gummerson (2010) contended that data analysis techniques are either qualitative or quantitative in nature. Qualitative data analysis can be used to describe a specific experience, situation, and views of various respondents. Alternatively, Quantitative data analysis takes the help of statistical representation and graphical tools. In the present study, the researcher attempts to analyse the secondary data with the help of qualitative techniques in order to compare the market condition of Europe and Middle East.

3.8 Ethical Consideration:
Data Application: In present study has been conducted by following the Data Protection Act 1998. The researcher has ensured to avoid any kind of plagiarism and publication of the results (, 2015)
Participant involvement: The researcher has followed ethical consideration that states honesty, integrity and openness. Complete confidentiality and objectivity has also been maintained throughout the study

3.9 Reliability and validity:
Corbetta (2009) opined that reliability tests the applied tools and methods to assess whether they produce consistent and similar results whenever they are applied. Whereas, Bergh and Ketchen (2009) stated that validity helps to understand whether tool measures what it is supposed to. For this study, the researcher has taken both these dimensions under consideration.

3.10 Limitation of methodology:
The researcher faces a time limitation in conducting this study. The researcher has also faced problems judging the authenticity of data collected from secondary sources. The data are often inconsistent and contradictory in nature. Along with this, budgetary problems have restricted the smooth conduct of research. The future study can be designed on the basis of the limitations faced in this current research.

3.11 Time Horizon:

Table 2: Gantt chart

3.12 Summary:
The present chapter presents a precise description about the methodology that is undertaken for the study. The researcher has chosen a particular philosophy, approach and design for the study that has been discussed in this chapter. In addition to this, the researcher has also mentioned the ethics, limitations and time horizon of the study.

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Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Findings

4.1 Introduction:
In this chapter, the researcher has focused on qualitative analysis of the secondary data. This is because the present study deals with a comparative analysis of both the European and Middle East markets. On the basis of the secondary data, the researcher has attempted to analyse the objectives. At first, the researcher tries to explore the perception and attitude of customers towards purchasing the hybrid cars in both the European and Middle East market. The researcher tries to make a comparative analysis between both the markets on the basis of customer behavior and factors motivating them to make the purchase.

In an attempt to understand customer behavior, the researcher takes the initiative of assessing the benefits and issues faced by purchasing this car. At the end, the researcher recommends certain strategies to enhance the infrastructural facilities of the car. This will ultimately increase it acceptability among customers. Through this study, the researcher will get a comprehensive view regarding the marketing practices of both European and Middle East markets.

4.2 Secondary qualitative data analysis

4.2.1 Analysing the perceptions and attitudes of customers towards purchasing electric car in the European and Middle East/MENA markets

Abe (2010) opined that an efficient and well-functioning transport system is extremely required for the social and economic development of a country. However, in the present times, it has been noted that the transport system has various adverse environmental and social effects. The transport system has utilised substantial amount of world's energy and has contributed to the CO2 emissions. A significant growth in the greenhouse gas emission and global warming, have led to a global shift to low carbon and environment-friendly transport systems.

Aggeri et al. (2012) stated that hybrid passenger cars have emerged in the global market since 1997. In the last 3-4 years, there has been rise in the demands of hybrid cars. Environment conscious customers are heavily relying on the electric transports, especially plug-in-hybrids and private battery electric vehicles. Dettmer (2013) contended that these electric and hybrid cars provide 30% better fuel economy. It gives 20% reduction in the use of fuel in comparison to CNG vehicles that gives only 10% reduction. However, consumers, till date have little knowledge and experience regarding these technologies. Therefore, they are psychologically distant from these cars. Burton (2015) commented that potential consumers of hybrid cars might have different attitudes to but the car. Either they have a strong-environmental pro perception or they have a major inclination towards new technologies. These translate into separate kinds of adaption and use.

In the European markets, customers are not well familiar with the technology. In the year 2013, it showed that the mean score of familiarity is 5.5. In this context, 1 represents "no knowledge", whereas 10 shows "full awareness". National average scores have observed that countries like Italy, UK and Spain lie above the mean. This means that they are mostly aware of the importance of hybrid cars. However, Poland, France and Germany lie much below the overall mean score. It also proved that familiarity among younger people is slightly higher than that of the older ages. This has proved that hybrid cars are gradually being more acceptable among the consumers (Dettmer, 2013).

On the other hand, the perception of the customers of Middle-East has also changed in the last decade. Kursad and Ayhan (2014) observed that the company Nissan has been able to maintain its position for the third consecutive year as the fastest-growing automobile brand. It has witnessed a record-breaking sale of 219,129 in 2014. In other words, it has increase by 3.3% on 2013. In the following table, the researcher depicts the perception of customers towards purchasing a hybrid and electric car.


Customer perception

European Market

Middle-East/MENA Market

Significantly reduces emission



Government support and subsidy



Fuel efficiency



Advanced technology






Inexpensive in the cost of ownership






Table 3: Customer perception towards purchasing hybrid cars

However, Islam and Pota (2013) noted that in Middle East countries like Arab, people are more inclined towards buying cars that has more technologies and add to their style statement. Moreover, the presence of millions of oil refineries, encourage the Middle-East people to buy petrol and diesel cars. Alternatively, in countries of Europe, where there is a dearth of fuel and the cost is high. Moreover, Government offers tax incentives. In such places, the demands of hybrid cars are much higher.

4.2.2 Analysing the dimensions of consumer behavior in purchasing electric cars
Lemoine (2010) stated that there are several factors that influence the behavior of customers to buy the hybrid and electric cars. Some of these factors are recognition of need, purchasing intention, information availability and identifying possible alternatives. Therefore, Valera and Pena (2012) commented that customer behavior is basically the amalgamation of perception, attitude and activity. It is imperative for the researcher to analyse the economic, psychological and socio-cultural dimensions that motivate or de-motivate them to purchase these electric cars.

Yilmaz and Krein (2013) discussed that the economic dimension primarily consider individual as economic being. These economic individuals make calculative and rational decisions regarding their purchase in an attempt to maximize their gain. Thus, customers tend to buy the cars that will provide them maximum utility and highest rate of satisfaction.

The researcher has observed that in both the European and middle-East markets, individual tend to be an economic man, they tend to assess precisely the advantageous that they will derive before purchasing the car. It has been noted that hybrid cars provide 30% better fuel economy. In comparison to CNG cars that provide only 10% reduction in fuel use, hybrid cars offer 20%. In the present times, where the cost of fuel is increasing daily, hybrid cars can be considers as a good alternative. According to Europe Automotive Industry Data newsletter, in 2014, the sale of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) has increased by 24,578 and battery electric vehicles (EVs) by 26,808. However, in contrast, the sales growth of Middle-East has been slightly lower. In 2013, the approximate sale has been 14000 (Kursad and Ayhan, 2014).

On the other hand, Xiong et al. (2014) opined that psychological dimension focus on the mental and psychological aspect of customers. The researcher sated that as the income of the consumers will rise, they will feel more motivated to spend the money on personal consumption. Psychological dimension is present in both the markets.

In the middle-East markets, Burton (2015) observed that not only rise in income but a simultaneous increase in the tax deductions have led to an increase in the sale of hybrid cars. For instance, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry and Ford Escape have been the highest selling cars for 2014. In the following table, the researcher represents the increase in the sales of hybrid cars in the last 3 years.


Rate of sales








Table 4: Trend of sales in Middle-East market

However, it has been noticed that most of the customers in the Middle-East markets indulges in buying luxury cars with their increase income than these eco-friendly ones. These luxury cars add to their style statements. Moreover, the existence of large number of oil refineries throughout Middle-East motivate them to buy the petrol and diesel cars.

On the other hand, Mohamedi (2015) opined that the European market is more concerned about oil and the environmental degradation it causes. Hence, even with their increased income, they feel more responsible toward buying these electric cars. In the last decade, the highest selling cars of Europe are Auris Hybrid, Yaris Hybrid, Lexus Hybrid, and Toyota Prius+. In the following table, the researcher represents the sale of hybrid cars


Rate of Sales







Table 5: Trend of sales in European market

The third dimension is the socio-cultural that emphasises on the social and cultural factors of customers that motivate them to take the purchasing decision. Burton (2015) contended that human beings are social being and they continuously attempt to conform to the group norms and beliefs. For the Middle-East people, it is more important to maintain a style statement by owning luxury cars. They are mostly not aware of the environmental problems. Hence like to live life in the way they have seen their elders do. Alternatively, the European people are more concerned about sustaining their environment. Therefore, they feel more inclined towards buying cars that will help them to preserve the environment.

4.2.3 Analysing the factors motivating the purchase of electric cars:

Wada (2010) discussed that there are three types of motivations that encourage consumers to make purchase decisions. These motivations are irrespective of their age, sex and culture. They are mostly dependent on existential need, affiliation need and social esteem need.
In the Middle East markets, customers give greater emphasis on the affiliation needs. While taking purchase decisions, they like to conform to the beliefs and norms of the group. They follow the set standards, fashion and trends in order to gain maximum acceptance in the society. Hence, they are more inclined towards purchasing luxury and large cars like others present in their group.
On the other hand, Abe (2010) noted that the European markets emphasise on the self-esteem needs. They mostly desire to own valuable objects in order to maintain a reputation and esteem in the society. Consumers in the European markets mostly purchase those cars that will help them to protect the environment. This will create a good image and reputation of the consumer in the society.

Wong et al. (2011) opined that the affiliation and self-esteem needs of customers motivate marketers to construct their branding strategies. It helps them to vividly understand the needs and preferences of the consumers. On the basis of the needs, the production is designed. Wouk (2012) stated that the buying pattern of customers is highly depended on these needs and motivation. Therefore, both these needs are considered to be productive in generating sales and profit.

4.2.4 Analysing the benefits of electric and hybrid cars that influence consumer purchase behaviour in the European and Middle East/MENA markets:

The electric and hybrid cars have generated a huge consumer base due to its large number of benefits. Abe (2010) contended that it has long been proved that the fuel and oil emissions cause more pollution in the air than the nature can take care. It not only leads to environmental degradation but adversely affects human health as well. The environmental advantages of these hybrid and electric cars have primarily initiated the consumers of both the markets to make the purchase. Apart from being environment-friendly, theses cars have other benefits as well. In the following part, the researcher will analyse the benefits received in both the markets.

In the European markets, Aggeri et al. (2012) opined that the most obvious benefit received from these cars is reduction of fuel costs. At times, when the cost of oil is rising every day, this innovative fuel-free car has proved to be quite beneficial. This is especially true for the consumers commuting for a long distance. These hybrid cars are extremely thrifty and save a lot of money on fuel bills. In countries of Europe, there is a strict restriction on the emissions. Electric cars like Ford Fusion Hybrid have reduced the amount of gasoline and green house gases. It has helped to keep the air clean. Dettmer (2013) stated as hybrid cars are considered 'clean'; they need not have to undergo continuous emission testing. This saves money, time and hassles for the owner. Moreover, hybrid and electric cars are supported by various incentives and credits. Exemption from congestion charges and lower road tax bills often influence the consumers to purchase this car. These benefits have influence the customers of the European market to purchase these electric and hybrid cars.

On the other hand, Valera and Pena (2012) asserted that the awareness of electric and hybrid cars are increasing in the Middle East. The Dubai International Motor Sow plays a pivotal role in educating the people about its benefits. Yilmaz and Krein (2013) commented that the Government of United Arab Emirates is providing financial benefits and incentives in the purchase of these cars. This has motivated the customers to indulge to buy these cars. Not only are these electric and hybrid cars are low in emission and efficient, their performances have also increased in the recent years. The rapid development of technology has made these cars easy to be driven. Moreover, keeping in mind the luxury preferences of Middle-East people, these cars are extremely smooth and comfortable. Most of the customers have stated that these cars are extremely light weight as they are made up of lighter materials that help to save energy. Moreover, the smaller and lighter engine is extremely useful and convenient when driving in the desert region.

In both European and Middle-East market, Burton (2015) opined that the resale value of the electric and hybrid cars are high. The continuous increase in the price of fuel and gasoline is motivating people to opt for greener and eco-friendly cars. As a result of this, these vehicles are commanding higher resale values than average cars. Hence, if a customer is not satisfied with the vehicle, then it can be sold at a premium price to the potential buyers. Therefore, these benefits have increasingly persuaded customers to purchase these cars.

4.2.5 Analysing the problems faced by customers in purchasing electric and hybrid cars in the European and Middle East/MENA markets

Despite promising benefits of electric and hybrid cars, there is a general dilemma among the customers towards its adoption. According to Wada (2010), it represents only 1% of the total purchase of these cars all over the globe. The study also projected that the market share of electric vehicles would not rise up more than 3% to 10% by 2020-2025. This shows that there are some problems faced by customers in purchasing chargeable vehicles. Here the researcher has drawn a comparison between the problems faced by customers in the European and Middle East markets.

Yilmaz and Krein (2013) identified some major problems in the European market in the purchase of electric vehicles. The main problem with electric car is the highly expensive Li-Ion battery. These lithium based batteries are not been commercialised yet. In today's market, the cost of such battery system is nearly about €600-800/kWh. Therefore, for the small compact electric cars, for a drive of 150 km, the energy consumption of the battery system is 20/kWh. From this it can be derived that the battery cost for one of these electric cars would amount up to €6,000-16,000.

In addition to this the European market did not show adequate charging infrastructure. There is very fewer are number of charging stations and they are not located in the strategic positions like parking garage, shopping malls or along the streets. On the other hand, Xiong et al. (2014) noted that there is the need to devise proper regulation to resolve the standardisation issues in the European market. Technical issues like cross-national compatibility, ensuring safety requirements, billing system must be resolved and harmonised.

Compared to the European market, the Middle East market shows a general apathy towards the adoption of electric cars. This is ascribed to the reason of availability of cheap oil. These pose considerable challenges to the purchase of chargeable electric or hybrid cars. Moreover, the study also noted that the Middle East countries offer fuel subsidies that also prevent the development the idea of zero carbon emission. It has been demonstrated by the fact that BMW i8, the electric car has been able to sell only 50 cars since its launch in 2014. However, on the other hand, Mohamedi (2015) revealed a more positive scenario of the country. It revealed that BMW's 5 and 7 series and X5 and X6 account for a sale of 65% in the current year. In all over the country the X series sales of BMW accounts for more than 50% sales.

In the ear 2015, Middle East noted 23% rise in the electric car sales, however it is difficult to maintain given the sharp decline in the price of crude oil. This has led to squeeze in the fiscal budget of the country and growth in public spending. In addition to this, Burton (2015) stated that the hot climate in the Middle East countries poses further challenges in the electric car adoption. These cars do not support the working of the air conditioner for a longer period of time. The batteries get exhausted and the air conditioner stop working. Therefore, customers do not purchase hybrid or electric cars. However in comparison to the European market, the charging infrastructure is better in the Middle East Markets. This will be discussed under the next point while recommending possible strategies.

4.2.6 Recommending possible strategies to enhance the infrastructure and reduce the price of the electric cars that will increase its sale

Given the scenario discussed above in the European and Middle East countries, there are certain issues that need to be addressed. The researcher in this sections highlights on the possible strategies that are needed to be taken to enhance infrastructure of the electric or hybrid cars and increase its sales. Dettmer (2013) stated that in the European market research and technological development must be properly undertaken to prepare the market for large scale production of Li-Ion batteries. The industry of electric cars must also develop suitable business model and must acquire public support in this regard. For the attainment of such purpose a pilot survey can be undertaken.

As noted in the earlier problem discussion of the European market, there is lack of proper infrastructural development of charging station. Therefore, a harmonised European approach needed to be taken with regard to standardisation and norms. It must also ensure convenient billing system customer-friendly operation system. Yilmaz and Krein (2013) mote that the standardisation of these vehicles must ensure that it is easily connected to the power network for charging the battery. The goal must is to meet the global norms and standards relating to the production and infrastructural framework of electric cars. This will help the European market to establish itself firmly in global business of electric cars.

In comparison to the European continent, the infrastructural development in respect to the electric car is somewhat better. In the large cities some infrastructure is built to improve the infrastructure of electric vehicles. In February 2015, Dubai Electricity and Water authority (DEWA) has announced to open up 100 electric car charging stations. It is committed to the vision of making Dubai a Smart City by the year 2021. It has also realised the sustainability and highest level of energy efficiency. This aim if realised would bring benefits to the electric vehicle industry in the country. Ganther et al. (2015) noted that a proper incentive from the government is required for the purchase and adoption of electric cars. An environmental awareness is required to realise the potential benefits of the electric cars. The study noted that customers in the Middle East are easily attracted to anything new. Therefore, if the regulations are forwarded and leads toward a change in directions, it will also motivate the people. The air conditioning system of these vehicles must also be developed along with the energy retention system of the cars. Frequent need for charges often is inconvenient to the customers that delay its adoption. The features, spaciousness and the aesthetics of the cars are also required to be developed that will potentially attract the customers.

Also read: Advertisement and Promotion in Business Assignment Help: Explaining the Communication Process in Advertising, Promotion, and Measuring Campaign Effectiveness

4.3 Summary:
In this chapter, the researcher has qualitatively analysed the secondary data. Through the study, the researcher is able to gain vivid knowledge about the customer perception and motivation towards purchasing this car. Here, through the comparative analysis, the researcher observed that environmental consciousness is more in the European countries than the Middle-East ones. Therefore, European customers feel more motivated to purchase the electric and hybrid cars than Middle-East.


  • What are the main factors influencing consumers to buy electric or hybrid cars?
  • Who is most likely to consider electric or hybrid cars?
  • How much do electric and hybrid cars reduce emissions?
  • Are there any environmental drawbacks to electric cars?
  • Are electric and hybrid cars more expensive than gasoline cars?
  • What government incentives are available for electric and hybrid cars?
  • How do hybrid cars work?
  • How far can electric cars travel on a single charge?
  • What is the charging infrastructure like for electric cars?

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