High Quality, Affordability Top List Of Automobile Preferences

If you are at all tuned into the automotive world, you know that there’s no other rivalry as intense as Chevrolet versus Ford. It’s like the Jets vs. the Sharks or the Capulets vs. the Montagues for the more highbrow among us. 

According to research from Cambridge Analytica, whose recent study looked at brand preferences by Americans across a wide array of categories, Ford beating out GM is not too surprising.

Men had Ford as their second most-preferred brand, with only BMW beating it out. Ford is the most desired brand for couples without children. And perhaps most significantly, even if they are living in their parents’ basement and can’t afford anything except a base-level Focus, Ford is the most desired brand among Millennials.

Ford and Chevrolet were considerably less popular than German and Asian brands among owners of the Asian brands Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota. Owners of the Asian brands were significantly more likely than owners of Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford to choose Audi and BMW as their most desired brands.

Cambridge has some other interesting data that auto marketers might want to take a closer look at. 

For each market segment, Cambridge looked at the breakdown of responses to two questions: Which of the following car brands would you most like to own and how important are the following factors when selecting a brand? The factors were: fits with a personal image, affordability, high quality, driven by celebrities, brand reputation, made in the USA and environmentally friendly.

Men were almost twice more likely to select BMW as their most desired brand. Other luxury brands such as Mercedes and Lexus are also significantly more likely to be selected by men. Interestingly, this trend is not followed for Audi, which is equally popular with both genders. 

Women were significantly more likely to select Japanese economy brands such as Honda and Toyota. It’s particularly interesting that women also favored Jeep significantly more than men. So much for all those Jeep ads featuring man as protagonist. 

When it comes to consumers who are parents, Dads followed broadly similar preferences to men in general with a slight shift from BMW to Mercedes and an increase for Jeep — presumably because they can accommodate a family. Again, trends for Moms broadly followed those of women generally. Like Dads, Moms are more likely than other women to choose Jeep. The biggest shift was for an increased desire for Lexus cars among Moms.

Back to those pesky Millennials. The group was almost twice less likely than an average survey respondent to select Lexus as their most desired brand. This ties with the previous result that Lexus has a larger share among moms than it does among women without children. Millennials were more likely than older respondents to choose the luxury German brands Audi and Mercedes — though not BMW. BMWs lead of 2% ahead of Audi and Mercedes vanishes entirely when considering only Millennials. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Millennials do not rate environmental impact or manufacture in the U.S. any more or less important than respondents of other ages. High quality and affordability remained the most important reasons for selecting a brand to purchase. The biggest differentiator was fitting a personal image, which was deemed “extremely important” by about a third of Millennials compared to a quarter of all respondents. 

When it comes to car ownership in general, consumers were more likely to choose luxury brands such as Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes as their most desired brand. 

Chevrolet and Ford were most desired among respondents who do not currently own a vehicle. Unlike car owners, respondents without a car rated affordability as extremely important more often than quality. They were more than 10% less likely to rate quality and approximately 6.5% more likely to rate affordability as extremely important. 

Owners of domestic brands were significantly more likely to desire cars from other U.S. brands. Honda and Toyota were selected least often among owners of domestic vehicles. 

Interestingly, the same was not true of Mercedes, which was selected less often than BMW and Audi among owners of Asian brands. Part of this loss was due to an increase in the popularity of Lexus. Respondents owning cars from Nissan and Lexus’s parent company, Toyota, were almost twice more likely than average to select Lexus. 

Not surprisingly, owners of domestic brands were twice as likely to consider “Made in the USA” as extremely important in choosing a brand but even among Chevrolet owners, the number remained below 30%, similar to brand reputation, fitting with a personal image and environmental impact. 

For both genders, high quality and affordability were the most important factors with the majority of respondents labeling them as “extremely important” when choosing a new car. Brand reputation and fitting with personal image were similarly important for both genders. The biggest difference between genders was in affordability; approximately 10% more women than men believe it to be extremely important when purchasing a new vehicle. And considering data from other sources that indicate women have a major influence over most auto purchases, that’s definitely worth noting.

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