Nielsen Online's latest Automotive Industry Overview shows that gas prices and the economy were key topics of online discussion in 2008. More than one million messages focused on gas, as consumers discussed strategies for dealing with a $4 per gallon price tag. The financial crisis and its impact on the big three automakers also fueled conversation, as consumers began looking into more fuel-efficient vehicles. Though alternative fuel/hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion hybrid generated substantial buzz in 2008, high MPG was only one hot topic in automotive buzz. Performance numbers were also important enough that the Nissan GT-R drew both consumer interest and scrutiny from Porsche. The Hyundai Genesis also had a buzz-worthy launch, collecting praise from bloggers and consumers alike.
A. Prius discussion spiked in the summer months, driven by its status as the benchmark hybrid in the time of high fuel prices and buzz about the next-gen version.
B. Peak buzz for the Chevy Volt in September was driven by the unveiling of the 2011 production version and publicity events.
C. The Nissan GT-R generated strong buzz throughout 2008, peaking in October when Porsche contested its Nürburgring lap time.
D. Ford Fusion buzz shows an upward trend, driven by consumers discussing updates for the 2010 models, the debut at the L.A. Auto Show and the hybrid version's surprisingly strong fuel economy.
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