Dealers should be given a confidence boost by new research showing that increasing numbers of consumers are both looking to buy a new car next year - and are prepared to spend more money.
Nearly half of drivers (44%) plan to buy a new car next year, according to a consumer poll by Motoring.co.uk. Last year 38% said they expected to change their car in 2013.The primary reason for change is simply 'I fancy a change' (41%), followed by 'the vehicle is getting old' (31%).
And the survey of more than 2,300 motorists shows a 7.8% increase in the average price people expect to pay for a new car – up from £20,087 to £21,653.
The budget bracket that sees the biggest increase is £25,000 to £30,0000, which is selected by 18.6% of potential car buyers compared to 10.9% in 2012.
Looking at spending power, more people are prepared to buy more expensive cars with the average potential spend increasing by 7.8% from £20,087 to £21,653.
Consumers are looking at the following age profile for their next purchase:
> a new car - 34%
> up to one year old - 19%
> up to two years old - 14%
> up to three years old - 14%
> up to four years old - 7%
> up to five years old - 8%
> between five and seven years - 3%
> seven to 10 years old - 2%
In terms of what is guiding customer choice in their new vehicle selection price is the most important criteria - and more important than last year - with mpg. Reliability is less important than in 2012. The biggest surge in interest has been technology and in-car entertainment with a 44% increase over last year in how buyers are judging cars.
Increased spending power is boosting the demand for more expensive car brands.
For example, the survey asks motorists to name three brands they are most interested in buying.
Although Ford is the most popular choice, selected by 37.5% of drivers, the top five also features three premium marques: Audi (33.3%), BMW (33.3%) and Mercedes-Benz (22.4%).
Jaguar sees the highest jump in the proportion of motorists who say they are interested in buying their car, with the figure more than doubling from 5.1% to 11%.
This tallies with increased sales of the brand, which are up 19% this year. Kia, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz are also big winners in the increase in consumers adding them to their wish lists.
On the issue of brand loyalty, Hyundai came top with all owners saying yes or maybe to the question 'would you buy the same make again?'
BMW was second and Skoda third. Owners of Peugeot, Renault and Vauxhall cars were the least likely to buy the same brand again.
The top five brands on consumers' wishlists were the same as last year: Ford, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. Honda, Renault, Citroen and Peugeot have become less popular than in 2012.