Quality Greatest Factor in Americans’ Car Buying Decision

Price and Safety Also Top Considerations

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New York, NY – Thinking about factors that influence their car-buying decision, Americans are most likely to say quality has the greatest impact, according to a new telephone survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of CarMax. More than a third of Americans who have purchased a vehicle say quality has the greatest influence on their car-buying decision (37%), followed by price (28%) and safety (22%). Americans are far less likely to say environmental factors (6%) or resale value (4%) is the main influence on their vehicle purchase.

Below is a breakdown of answers when asked “Which of the following factors MOST influences your car-buying decision?”

While there are few differences across age and gender when it comes to the factors that most influence car buying decisions, household income does seem to play a role. Those with a household income of less than $75,000 are more likely than adults who are more affluent to say that price (32% vs. 18%) and safety (25% vs. 15%) are top considerations. Conversely, those with a household income of at least $75,000 are much more likely to take quality into account (54% vs. 30%).

Safety is also more important among parents than among those without children (27% vs. 18%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted August 19-22, 2010. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more information on this news release please contact:
Rebecca Sizelove
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos

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Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999.

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Quality Greatest Factor in Americans’ Car Buying Decision

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Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America