Gas mileage tops drivers' lists as the "most important consideration" for their next car, according to a new survey from Consumer Reports. Two-thirds of consumers expect their next car to get better mileage than their current one — which they should, given rising EPA figures — and more than a third said they drive less than they did a year ago. Nine out of 10 drivers who wanted a more fuel-efficient vehicle said high gas prices were the top reason, but nearly two-thirds named environmental friendliness as another reason; 56% voiced concern over U.S. dependence on foreign oil. In a possible sign of future demand, consumers plan to buy more small cars and small or midsize SUVs, but fewer minivans and large sedans.
In other news:
- On the heels of GM announcing it won't advertise in next year's Super Bowl, Hyundai announced it would be back, Automotive News reports.
- Market research firm Millward Brown's annual ranking of most-valuable global brands has BMW topping Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Honda among the top 10 automotive brands.
- Tesla announced its first Model S deliveries will take place on June 22. It's a month ahead of the original schedule, thanks to quicker federal approval than anticipated.
- Even as highway deaths decline, motorcycle deaths will likely remain at 2010 levels once all 2011 figures come in, the Governors Highway Safety Association said. Only 19 states require helmets, and nearly a third of motorcyclist deaths involved higher-than-legal levels of alcohol — "the highest of all motorists," GHSA said.
- GM began a $380 million expansion Monday at its Wentzville, Mo., plant, which is just west of St. Louis, to build its next-generation midsize pickups, The Detroit News reports.