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Fuel economy more important than image

Budget conscious Britons are more concerned about fuel economy and running costs when buying a new car than they are about brand image, design or performance.

New research by Gilbran, Europe’s only dedicated automotive real estate company found around 18% of British drivers said fuel economy and running costs were the single most important factor, after price, in choosing one car over another, beating all other considerations.

Exterior design and style were the most important element for 12% of British drivers, with reliability chosen by 10% and a further 10% selecting brand image as they most important considerations after price.

Surprisingly speed and engine performance were selected by just 7% of drivers, with a further 7% citing interior design and layout as the key factor.

Safety features were selected by 5% of drivers, with 3% selecting manoeuvrability/ease of parking.

Colour was low down the scale with just 3% of drivers saying this was the key factor they would consider after price, with interior equipment/in car entertainment selected by a mere 1%.

“This research suggests that rising costs of motoring, and particularly fuel prices, are now having a significant impact on the types of cars that people are choosing to buy,” says Gilbran managing director Nigel Smith.

“The fact that many Britons consider lifetime cost as more important than brand image and styling will surprise many people but, as we continue to see fuels prices and other associated motoring costs rise, we are likely to see this trend grow.

“It is perhaps something that both motor dealers and manufacturers need to be more aware of in the ways they market vehicles to the British public,” said Smith.

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