A new survey released by AutoMD.com suggests that lengthening vehicle ownership is affecting consumer purchasing behavior patterns. Conducted online with 1,142 vehicle owners in 2015 and 2016, the survey found 59% of those responding planned to purchase a car in the next six months.
And the largest share of respondents planned to purchase a preowned vehicle of two to ten years old — 45% — nearly twice that of those planning on buying a new car, the runner-up. The hierarchy of vehicle purchase types also included preowned for less than two years, preowned for more than 10 years, and a “real fixer-upper,” ranked in that order.
This means the majority are opting for preowned vehicles, with three-quarters listing the cost of replacement parts as a major factor in the decision-making process. Among the findings are several statistical points. Specifically, 76% will purchase a preowned vehicle, while 55% are opting for a vehicle more than two years old. Price trumped every other decision factor. Knowing the vehicle in question would last for more than ten years was the second-most important factor. 62% of those reporting said the price is not a good deal unless it is at or less than invoice pricing. Consumers increasingly prefer third-party research sites and Google instead of dealership websites, to help make the final decision. It seems the business ethos for auto finance dealers is becoming transparency or bust, whether they like it or not.
“Clearly many consumers embrace the notion of a preowned vehicle as a viable primary vehicle, and are looking to keep them running for the long term,” AutoMD.com Vice President Tracey Virtue said. While price remains the biggest factor in consumers’ minds, longevity in the sense of knowing the car would last ten years scored a close second, according to the study.
The study found a smorgasbord of primary factors in consumers’ minds: 23% cited price, 18% longevity, 17% utility, 15% the cost of repairs, 14% style, and 14% fuel efficiency and gas mileage.
On an interesting note, the study found that instead of the more progressive electric or hybrid vehicles, brand loyalty toward manufacturers was more important. The study found that almost half of those surveyed would choose the same brand.
The study found that the most valuable online research sites were Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book as a tool for customers’ making their final purchase decision.