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Study Shows New-Car Buyers Avoid the Hard Choices

January 30th, 2012

Volt showroom

Buyers want quality and reliability, but only 38 percent were basically influenced by ratings, analysis and reviews when buying a new car. Some 43 percent avoided particular models and brands by following their preconceptions, hearsay and “common knowledge.”

J.D. Power’s ninth Avoider Study also found that 14 percent of buyers avoided imports “because of their origin,” the highest level in the history of the study. Only 6 percent refused to buy “American” cars, again the lowest figure in the study’s history. Gas mileage was the most important reason buyers cited for buying a particular vehicle.

So my takeaway is that new-car buyers are generally influenced by perception rather than reality; they are xenophobic; and they’re basically uninformed when they go to make a $20,000-plus purchase.

Buyers are clearly out of touch with the realities of where and how cars are produced (“Buy American” means next to nothing these days), what cars are in fact dependable, and how to make an informed decision. What influences them most is styling (biggest factor for 35 percent), says an L.A. Times story on the study.

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