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New car buyers confused by too much choice

New-car buyers are faced with too much choice, and the growing number of diverse products offered by manufacturers is causing consumer confusion, according to research by Glass’s Guide.


Many visitors to Glass’s valuation website – – have indicated that the choice on offer is too vast. In response to a survey, 29% said they found the number of models available to be “overwhelming”, with 26% saying they were “confused” by the choice of products.

Moreover, 51% of respondents were unable to test drive their model of choice when they visited the relevant showroom, indicating that dealer demonstrator fleets are not representative of what is being offered.

Of this group 27% were offered an alternative vehicle which suited their requirements.

Jason King, head of market intelligence at Glass’s, said: “During 2009 a total of 70 new model lines were introduced and this followed the 58 launches of 2008.

“Many of the debuts came in burgeoning niche segments, rather than the traditional categories. So-called crossovers and a growing number of cars with alternative engines – such as hybrid petrol-electric vehicles – have changed the face of the market. Not surprisingly, some consumers struggle when it comes to selecting the right car for their needs.”

This year manufacturers are planning to launch 40 new model lines which is significantly less than in recent years which will lead to a lower number of vehicles ranges being available.

King said: “But customers will still be faced with a perplexing choice, as manufacturers continue to tap into recently-created, successful sub-segments.”

New models such as the Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Juke will bring an even greater choice of crossovers.

King said: “Offering the ‘best of both worlds’ in one car is not a new idea, and it is rare for crossovers to present something not already catered for by an existing model.

“But the concept has proven successful, attracting conquest sales and thus adding registrations for carmakers.”

Consumers can also expect to see more vehicles with environmentally-friendly badging, like Ford’s ECOnetic models and the BlueMotion range from Volkswagen.

“To meet stringent EU emissions targets, manufacturers will soon have to include ‘green’ technology across the range, as BMW does with its Efficient Dynamics package. In 2010 stop-start systems, turbocharging and hybrid powertrains will all feature more prominently on new cars.”

King believes well-equipped newcomers like the Audi A1 and the Chevrolet Spark will feed the trend for downsizing, providing more choice for those seeking to save without sacrificing creature comforts.

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