06 May 2011

Conservative Car Buying

Many people would probably think that when buying a new car, they are broad minded. Some are no doubt, but not many. I say this by looking at car statistics. If people are indeed open minded about their car choice, then we would see more fluctuation between brands on sales charts. The reality is that in any given country, certain brands dominate a segment year after year, and others consistently fail to do so.

Of course, there are many reasons why, but the one focued on here is the reluctance many have to venture into new brands. What shapes private car buying decisions? A few are listed below:

1) A conveniently located dealer. Most people are not going to go too far out of their way unless they really want a particular model badly enough.

2) Loyalty: Some want to support a marque that is from their own country. Others may never consider an import brand to avoid a negative impression in the minds of others of disloyalty. For example, statistics indicate that German premium car buyers are very narrow minded when choosing a car. A Lexus for example? I don't think so.

3) Prejudice: A buyer may avoid a brand he has heard has had reliability issues in the past, even it no longer holds true. I read even now of people saying they would never buy a Jaguar due to this issue. Basic research would show Jaguars are generally reliable now. Car buyers should try to be more informed and up to date on such things.

4) Snobbery: Others only go for a car that they feel gives a certain positive impression to others. Why not buy a car that satisfies our real needs, not our ego (or our insecurities)?

To keep an open mind when buying a car, why not:

1) Find out which models that suit our real needs.
2) Search for the dealers that carry them.
3) Go to the dealer, look the car(s) over, have a reasonably good test drive.
4) Finalise a short list of which cars meet your needs, then haggle to see who has the sharpest pencil.
5) Don't be pressured to sign on the dotted line, but go home and weigh up value, quality, resale price and practicalness.

Then decide. You may end up purchasing a brand you had not thought of at the beginning of the process.

In summary: Be prepared to broaden your horizons when buying a new car.

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