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:
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.
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 .