German auto executives who have worried that their government's opposition to a war in Iraq might prompt Americans to boycott their vehicles don't need to fret, according to one survey of U.S. car shoppers.
Only 4.1 percent of the respondents said they were avoiding German cars because Germany opposes an American invasion of Iraq.
The survey results are no surprise to Rick Kenney, executive vice president of Dohring Co., which conducted the survey last week for Automotive News.
"The German opposition to a possible war with Iraq is having very little if any effect on the willingness of Americans to buy German vehicles," he says.
"I have not seen any survey where people were adverse to buying a particular make of a vehicle due to a war. It's so common for Americans to be detached from what's happening in the world."
Dohring polled 1,551 people who said they were planning to purchase a new vehicle in the next 18 months. The respondents were half men and half women, 18 and older, with a wide range of income levels.
Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said they were unlikely to consider buying a German vehicle.
Asked why, 12.4 percent of all respondents - the most common response - was allegiance to U.S. companies. The No. 2 reason, at 11.9 percent, was that German vehicles were too expensive.
Fear in Germany about U.S. auto shoppers ran so deep that the Atlantic-Bruecke, a German-American friendship organization, ran a full-page ad in The New York Times last month emphasizing the bonds between the United States and Germany.
Several top auto executives signed the ad, including Juergen Schrempp, CEO of DaimlerChrysler, and Jens Neumann, the Volkswagen AG board member responsible for North America.