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Who’s driving new cars?

Who’s driving new cars?

Analysis by CACI (

"Two thirds of new cars are driven by just half of the population. It’s no surprise that it’s the better off half of the population that are more likely to be driving a new car. But other than income, what sets these people apart from the rest and how can their behaviour be used for target marketing? How do we get these people into the showrooms be they retail or company car drivers?

The most likely people to drive a new car fall into two categories. The Wealthy Achievers and the Comfortably Off. These two groups have a lot in common - income, age and family status. Their gross family income is above £30,000 per annum. They are most likely to be over 30 years of age, living with a partner and have dependent children. They have every reason to be happy with life especially with a shiny new car sitting in the driveway, next to the second car, which they’ll probably replace with a new one at the first opportunity.

Living in detached and semi-detached houses they are either self-employed or employed in a supervisory or managerial capacity. The car comes into its own as a status symbol when parked in the office car park where their employees and juniors can only aspire to the dream of new car ownership. Ironically commuting by car goes against the greater than average interest in environmental concerns of these two groups. A definite case of ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’.

The Wealthy Achievers and Comfortably Off invest in stocks, shares and have regular saving plans. It also means that they are able to take holidays as well as drive a new car; and they do love holidays. If they travel for the sun, then they prefer it to be outside Europe. But what sets these people apart from your average person is their love of skiing. They just have to get away to hit the slopes. There’s a marketing opportunity for the industry.

When it comes to car manufacturers and dealers aligning themselves with other products for marketing opportunities there is one product that shines like a beacon above all others in new car buyers’ lives. Another bit of tin…the dishwasher. These wealthy families with busy working lives don’t have time to get their hands wet – they’re more likely to wash the car than the dinner plates. Once the dishwasher is loaded, they’ll sit back and crack open a bottle of wine, from a case they purchased by mail order.

What separates these two groups is the amount that they spend on a car. The Comfortably Off will spend between £5,000 and £10,000 and when pushed they’ll move up above the £10,000 mark. The Wealthy Achievers on the other hand will splash out a bit more. They generally operate above the £10,000 barrier and are more likely than most to spend over the £20,000 barrier.

How can these different groups be targeted with different models or brands tailored to their spending preference? The Comfortably Off are very middle of the road people with few extremes of behaviour, if they do read a paper it will probably be the Daily Mail or Daily Express. But the hardcore readership of The Daily Telegraph and The Times are most definitely the Wealthy Achievers.

Car buyers from these groups are likely to use the internet to conduct their research before even entering the showroom. They’ve earned their money and they want to spend it wisely. A good internet site with good offers is therefore crucial for driving footfall into showrooms.

But don’t think it’s just a question of having plenty of money. Educated Urbanites and Aspiring Singles, who make up 8.5% of the population have mean incomes of around £30,000 and above. However they do not indulge themselves in new cars. These twenty-somethings are well-educated, high-income earners. However they prefer to use their own legs or more often the tube, train or bus to commute from their privately rented flats to their place of work. These Guardian and Independent readers also have a concern for the environment, which perhaps has more of an effect on their car purchasing decisions than it does on the elder generation. Or perhaps it’s better to have a second-hand car if you’re living in the city streets of parallel parking.

Wealthy Achievers can be found in high numbers anywhere on the fringe of the major urban centres of the UK. For example, they are a high percentage of the population in affluent suburbs such as Solihull and Sutton Coldfield as the map below illustrates:

The Comfortably Off being middle of the roaders, form a buffer between the Wealthy Achievers on the outskirts and the urban environment in the middle of cities in places such as Shirley, Great Barr and King’s Heath in the Birmingham area."

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