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Illustration choosing what car to buy

by Spreet Aulakh 20th September 2018

How Britons choose their cars

Britons buying new cars this September are a sensible bunch, according to a new Opinium* survey, mostly diligently researching cars before picking one; however, it also found plenty of people swayed by emotional factors including hearts overruling heads, wanting cars as status symbols, and a car’s colour affecting purchasing decisions.

Overall, an impressive 71%, of the 2,000 UK drivers surveyed, do careful research before buying a new or second-hand car including checking its fuel efficiency, safety and general reliability record. This figure is the same for men and women and across all age groups.

The research, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, a leading supplier of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance for new and second-hand cars, reveals, however, that despite two-fifths (42%) saying that they do not care how their car looks as long as it gets them from A to B, the same proportion admit that the colour is very important and that they would not buy a car if they do not like the colour. Men and women both feel strongly about the colour (40% v 44%).

As well as being affected by the colour, the survey reveals that one in five (20%) say they would spend more on a car they loved than they could actually afford, rising to one in three under 35-year olds (36%). Older age groups are more hard-headed with one in four 35 – 54-year olds (26%) saying this and only 14% of over 55s.

Another emotional factor that comes out strongly is that being seen with a nice car is a symbol of status. Over a quarter (27%) of drivers agree that having a nice car is a symbol of status, with the North East (36%) and London (32%) coming out as the most car-status orientated regions, with the South West (20%) and the East of England (24%) polling the lowest.

“We know people love their cars. Over 80% of people told us this,” said Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Office of InsuretheGap.com, “so it’s no surprise that when it comes to buying a new car, which is probably the second biggest purchase for most people in their lives after property, there’s a battle between a sensible, well thought-through decision and that mad rush of adrenalin when the head just gets overruled.

“We need to remember that for many a car is not just a set of wheels but an integral part of their life giving them potentially years of use, so it’s easy to see how emotions play such a prominent role in the purchase.”

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