Phoenix Marketing International, a Honomichl Top-50 market research firm, reported findings from a recent study that reveal what motivates various automotive consumers during the vehicle purchase process.

The study aimed to determine which factors are most influential to vehicle purchasers in the market for a non-luxury or luxury vehicle, and how those factors differ between the two segments. The study was fielded during November 2012 and covered 1800+ consumers who are currently, or were recently, in the market for a new vehicle.

Respondents were asked to select the factor that would be most important to them on their next new vehicle purchase. Following are the top five selections from non-luxury consumers and luxury consumers:

Non-Luxury Consumers

1.     Fuel efficiency (25%)*

2.     Performance (22%)

3.     Brand reputation (14%)

4.     Safety features (10%)

5.     Exterior design (9%)

Luxury Consumers

1.     Performance (26%)

2.     Brand reputation (20%)

3.     Safety Features (12%)

4.     Exterior design (11%)

5.     Fuel efficiency (9%)

* Bold denotes statistical significance at 90% confidence compared against the same factor in the other segment

Phoenix Analyst Kevin Severance comments, “At first glance, we see similarities between the two groups, but there are actually some noteworthy distinctions between non-luxury and luxury automotive consumers. Firstly, a significantly higher percentage of non-luxury consumers (1 in 4) views fuel efficiency as the most important factor influencing their purchase decision. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock as gas and oil prices rise, but compare that with less than 10% of luxury consumers citing miles per gallon as most important. Secondly, significantly more luxury buyers are most interested either in vehicle performance or in brand reputation than their non-luxury counterparts.” Mr. Severance adds, “Naturally these findings have implications for automotive marketers who develop media and brand strategy. It’s not as simple as just including these talking points in communications. In order to attract the right customers, marketers need to talk about the right things in the right way with the right people. Our research is precisely aimed at finding the most successful ways to accomplish that.”

The initial results of the Automotive Purchase Influence Study also align with PMI’s “Best of Automotive Advertising 2011” report, which they shared earlier this year. Analysis from that report showed that non-luxury consumers responded well to certain ads with messaging on fuel economy and innovation, while luxury automotive consumers reacted favorably to messaging on performance, innovation and style. Results for the Best Ads of 2012 will be released in 1Q 2013.

In an effort to further explore what drives high-end luxury automotive consumers, Phoenix will also launch a new study in December 2012 that will target affluent segments of the automotive market. The Affluent Automotive Brand study aims to uncover psychological motivations behind purchase behaviors, understand the impact of macroeconomic conditions on spending habits, and discover which brands are most appealing among high income households as they are looking to purchase a new vehicle.  Data collected will be among U.S. affluent consumers who have recently purchased or are currently in the market for a new vehicle.  Brands to be tracked include Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Cadillac, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lexus, Maserati, Maybach, Mercedes, Porsche, and Rolls Royce.


Study Reveals Luxury Car Buyers Value Performance And Reputation Over Economy

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