Quality Remains the Most Influential Factor in Americans’ Car Buying Decisions

Price and Safety Also Top Considerations, but Less Important than in 2010

Monday, December 12, 2011

New York, NY – Nearly half of Americans (45%) say that quality is the factor that most influences their car-buying decision, according to a new telephone survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of CarMax. Among those who had purchased a car, 45% select quality as having the most impact on their decision, an increase of 8% since 2010. While quality was also the top factor last year, it was selected by less than four in ten (37%).

  • Men are more likely than are women to take quality into account when choosing a car (54% vs. 37%).
  • Those with a household income of at least $75,000 are also more likely than those with lower incomes to pick quality as the most important factor (55% vs. 40%).

Price ranks second, selected by 22% of adults as the most important factor. However, fewer name price as having the most impact on their car buying decision this year than they did last year (28%).

  • Price is more likely to be the most influential factor among those with a household income under $75,000 than it is among those who are more affluent (27% vs. 14%).

Fewer Americans cite safety as being most influential when choosing a car, selected by 15% in 2011 compared to 22% in 2010. Both polls show that safety is more of a concern for parents than it is for adults without a child under 18 (27% vs. 18% in 2010; 20% vs. 13% in 2011).

Less than one in twelve believe resale value (7%) or green and environmental factors (6%) to be most important when selecting a car.

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These are some of the findings of Ipsos polls conducted August 19-22, 2010 and October 6-11, 2011. For the surveys, nationally representative samples of 1,000 and 1,001 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. were 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 please contact:

Rebecca Sizelove
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In the U.S., UK and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, and the Hispanic polling partner of Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBC Universal providing Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world.

Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

To learn more visit: www.ipsos-na.com

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world. Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends to develop and test emergent or existing products or services, and build brands. They also test advertising and study audience responses to various media, and measure public opinion around the globe.

They help clients create long-term relationships with their customers, stakeholders or other constituencies. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting and offers 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. In 2010, Ipsos generated global revenues of €1.140 billion ($1.6 billion U.S.).

Visit www.ipsos-na.com to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

Quality Remains the Most Influential Factor in Americans’ Car Buying Decisions

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Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America