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Under ¼ of Europeans to buy a car in the next 12 months

A global online survey on car ownership reveals that just less than a quarter of people in Europe will buy a car in the next 12 months.

Findings on consumers’ current and future car ownership intentions were released today by ACNielsen, a provider of consumer and marketplace information, as part of its Online Consumer Survey which polled over 14,100 internet users in 28 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe and the US in October 2004.

Based on the survey findings, automotive experts at ACNielsen developed an “Aspiration Index” (AI) to measure the relationship between current ownership levels and future intentions to purchase a vehicle, highlighting countries of high future demand.

China, while ranking low in current car ownership, was found to have the most car-aspiring respondents, despite potential car buyers accounting for a small portion of the population. Globally, price was the most frequently cited driver of choice, and therefore was a universal consideration for new car purchases. Other considerations like fuel consumption, performance and safety were a distant second and third, and varied across the three regions.

While brand image/prestige did not make it into the top three major criteria for drivers of new car purchases, it ranked higher in the US and Spain (28% respectively) and among the European countries and commanded greater importance in a number of Asia Pacific countries like Taiwan, China and Indonesia (40% each). This, says AC Nielsen, is an important indicator, suggesting that manufacturers must also focus on brand building to ensure they attract the brand/prestige-minded customers.

Among those intending to purchase a new car, those in Asia Pacific accounted for the most first time buyers (42%), while over 60% of Europeans were considering a replacement for an existing car.

Among dozens of car brands, Toyota was the most popular the world over, both in terms of current ownership (11%) and consideration for future purchase (16%). Ford trailed closely at eight per cent and Volkswagen was third at six per cent in terms of current ownership, while Honda (8%) and Hyundai (6%) took over the second and third positions when it came to future purchases among the world’s consumers.

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