Most auto shoppers are pragmatic when it comes to auto purchases, but they also will favor near-new luxury cars over new mass-market vehicles. Of the 1,500 people who recently bought a vehicle and who were polled by AutoTrader for its 2011 Shopper Frame of Mind study, 71% said they bought based on need rather than want.
AutoTrader provided 12 new and near-new vehicles under $30,000 that addressed but need-based and comfort and emotional functionality. Then, AutoTrader.com fielded a survey of over 300 site visitors in November to gauge reactions to the 12 vehicles. Respondents picked their top three vehicles from the list and then chose descriptors that fit their view of each of those vehicles.
AutoTrader determined that “need to buy” was driven by previous vehicle being involved in an accident or breaking down, and changes in lifestyle such as a new baby, new commute to work, new driver in the family and a new job. Then the firm recommended 12 new and nearly new cars based on those events: the 2012 Hyundai Elantra and the near-new 2010-11 Ford Fusion (for breakdown); Kia Soul and used Volvo S80 (accident); 2012 Dodge Journey and 2007-09 GMC Acadia (new baby); 2007-08 Infiniti G35 (new job); new Ford Focus 2010-11 Suzuki Kizashi (new driver in family); new Jetta SportWagen TDI and 2009 Acura TSX (longer commute).
The firm said respondents favored near-new luxury vehicles over new. The 2008 Infiniti G35 was selected in the top three by 37% of those surveyed, the 2009 Acura TSX was selected by 34% and the Volvo S80 was chosen by 33%. The respondents said the G35 and TSX were "more
sexy, stylish, sporty, fun and fast" than the Volvo, but the Volvo was seen as more functional, safe and versatile than the other two.
“Over the last couple of months, shoppers on AutoTrader.com have shown a notable increase in interest in luxury vehicles, particularly in the used and CPO segments,” said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights at AutoTrader.com. “This is likely fueled by the trend of consumers who are shopping for new, non-luxury sedans cross shopping near-new luxury sedans, as these vehicles fulfill similar consumer desires at similar price points.”
Vehicles such as the near-new Suzuki Kizashi and the new Kia Soul didn’t fare as well with shoppers surveyed in November, with only 10% of respondents choosing the Kia Soul and 8% choosing the Kizashi among their top three choices.