NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- At a press conference hosted by the World Car Awards (WCA) at the New York International Auto Show today, an expert panel comprising 66 of the world's top automotive journalists weighed in on today's top global trends in the automotive industry. The key findings of a scientific study conducted by Prime Research are: Market Trends - Enthusiasm about the fully battery-electric vehicle is further waning, while plug-in hybrid technology is increasingly seen as the most promising alternative powertrain technology. Downsizing and improved internal combustion engines are the top trend for 2014 and beyond. Light-weight technology is on the rise. And safety-related driver assistance systems are a key topic, while skepticism prevails towards fully autonomous driving. "While connectivity and efficiency remain the most important topics for the top global motor journalists, E-mobility has dropped from third rank to number six out of ten in less than a year," remarked Dr. Rainer Mathes, president of Prime Research, which conducted the study in conjunction with the World Car Awards. "The third position is now occupied by hybrid technology, previously ranked fourth," he added. Mathes also noted that light-weight technology, which was considered of least performance in last year's survey, has moved upwards from tenth to fifth rank -- a clear sign of its growing significance. The experts also voiced strong opinions on connectivity; 79 percent of them believe the topic already is or soon will become a key factor in evaluating a car. Safety-related systems are generally regarded as more significant than comfort and convenience features. Regarding infotainment systems, audio streaming from personal devices like iPhone and MP3 players is clearly preferred over radio-based options like satellite radio or webradio. Email and chat functionalities are seen critically by the experts.