One in three Europeans would spend more to buy an environmentally friendly car even though 71 per cent say they have reduced overall spending as a result of the economic recession, a Ford Motor Company-sponsored poll shows.

The survey also shows 53 per cent consider climate change to be the world’s biggest issue and 57 per cent would prefer to lead a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

"The survey shows that even in economically difficult times there is a clear desire for vehicles that are more environmentally friendly," said Barb Samardzich, vice president Product Development, Ford of Europe. "Ford is extremely focused on meeting this demand now and in the future, and this goes hand-in-hand with delivering products that help reduce running costs."

Ford commissioned the survey through "The Futures Company," a leading consultancy, to better understand the opinions and attitudes of Europeans across a range of mobility issues - from car sharing to green driving to the future of the internal combustion engine.

The survey shows that for 71 per cent, fuel-efficiency is a major factor in choosing a car; 60 per cent prefer to choose models from car makers that have targeted a reduction in their environmental impact; and 68 per cent consider fuel-efficiency when driving.

Ford’s developments in ’green’ motoring feature:

• ECOnetic variants of Fiesta and Focus are Ford’s most fuel-efficient vehicles ever in Europe, returning 85.6mpg and 83.1mpg respectively;

• Ford’s fuel-efficient and powerful 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, 2012 "International Engine of the Year", is available in a variety of city and family models including the seven-seat Grand C‑MAX;

• In 2013 Ford will introduce to Europe its first ever zero-tailpipe emissions passenger car the Focus Electric to be joined later by hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Ford says its new Fiesta offers more engines that can achieve sub-100g/km CO2 emissions than any other small car nameplate. Its combination of advanced new engines, fuel-saving technologies and aerodynamic improvements ensure an unrivalled seven powertrains achieve sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and deliver optimised fuel efficiency.

The Ford Eco Mode coaching system, now also available in the Fiesta, rewards drivers for using fuel-efficient driving techniques by displaying up to five ’petals’ on each of three ’flowers’ that represent gear-shifting, speed and anticipation. Ford customer training has found that enhanced eco-driving skills can result in 10 per cent long-term fuel savings.

"The majority of car buyers prefer fuel-efficient vehicles, even if only a minority feel they can afford to invest in one given the current economic climate," said Andreas Ostendorf, vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, Ford of Europe. "Through its ECOnetic variants and range of 1.0-litre EcoBoost-equipped vehicles, Ford is providing the right balance between climate protection, social equity and customer acceptance."