||Most Car Shoppers Prefer 'The Deal' More Than Latest Design
As much as car enthusiasts gush over new automotive sheet metal and technology, nearly 80 percent of car shoppers would prefer to get a good deal on a car than wait for a newer design, a recent online survey shows.
The survey by AutoTrader.com found that 57 percent of shoppers do not feel it is important to have the latest vehicle redesign.
Although more than half of all automotive shoppers perform Internet research about new-model releases, most of them do that so they can negotiate a better price on an older model, the survey stated.
"This is a bit counterintuitive, given how much effort, expense and emphasis the industry puts on redesigns," said Rick Wainschel, AutoTrader vice president of automotive insights.
The commoditization of many car segments has led to purchase behavior similar in nature to TV or smartphone shopping, Wainschel said in an interview. AutoTrader said 130 people responded to the online survey in March -- with a margin of error of four percentage points.
An older, "pretty darn good" product will often generate more interest than the latest technology simply because the deal is more attractive, he added.
But the current economic climate and fluctuating consumer confidence levels could have an impact on car-shopping behavior.
Another recent AutoTrader survey showed 71 percent of respondents said they were buying a car out of need, with just 29 percent buying because they wanted to, Wainschel said.
In that survey, 27 percent of respondents said "affordability" was the No. 1 reason for buying, compared to 10 percent buying for design or styling, and just 3 percent for new technology.
"The economy is thawing, but the signs are that it is thawing slowly," Wainschel said. "People are bringing a residual caution that is causing price to be a continuing factor of great importance."
There are exceptions, obviously. When a product undergoes a revolutionary change -- such as the last Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima redesigns -- the shopping behavior also changes.
"The cross-shopping data show that the new Sonata and Optima have become destination vehicles," Wainschel said. "But if the changes are evolutionary, then people are willing to compare prices and deals more."
(Source: Automotive News, 04/12/13)