Car buyers care more about image and style than green credentials or safety

Published at: 24th January 2022


REPUTATION FOR QUALITY, stylish appearance and a positive previous ownership experience are the three top reasons car buyers choose their new models, according to an in-depth study of car buying behaviour.

The findings come from Autovia, Britain’s leading publisher of automotive insight and advice, whose unique Driver Power research delves into the minds of up to 60,000 car owners a year. They form part of a comprehensive investigation which is drilling down into what factors motivate buyers to choose the cars they do.

According to 1,245 motorists who bought their current car within the past two years, their chosen brand’s reputation for quality topped a list of 17 factors influencing their choice of car, followed by model styling and customer service.

This latest analysis reveals a challenge for manufacturers jockeying for position as the market transforms to meet Britain’s net zero carbon targets, because environmental credentials score low among factors influencing purchase choices.

Only the recommendations of family and friends scored lower than the environmental credentials of a brand.

Reputation for quality was the top reason given by 61% of buyers, followed by model styling which was cited by 53% of drivers.

The importance of maintaining customer satisfaction over the long term is revealed by a previously happy experience with the brand ranking third, at 51%.

In a sign that innovative methods of financing cars more affordably have taken some of the heat off price worries, ‘good value for money’ was a top reason for only 40% of buyers.

Autovia’s Driver Power research confirms the importance of a reputation for quality by also asking owners whether they avoided any brands and for what reasons.

Again, a poor reputation for quality was the top reason for avoiding specific brands, followed by a negative perception of the brand’s overall image.

The ‘brand avoidance’ element in the research also revealed that expectations of high service and repair costs are a deal breaker for many buyers.

Driver Power will publish individual brand performance rankings on all of the most persuasive factors in the coming weeks.

Autovia Editor-in-Chief, Steve Fowler, said: “Brand perceptions are a very subjective phenomenon and yet they are key to success or failure in Britain’s car market, so manufacturers will be fascinated to understand how they are viewed by car buyers.

“Two of the most unexpected findings in this latest research are that environmental credentials and the influence of family and friends score so low, suggesting that customers feel much more strongly about an enjoyable and stylish car ownership experience that they have discovered through their own research.

“Dealers will also note that looking after the customer properly is key to retaining loyalty, with women in particular citing a previously good experience as the best reason to stick with a brand.”


For further information, interviews and images please contact Karen Parry or Mike Hind: / 07359 306474 / 0033 631 67 33 77


Autovia combines market-leading, expert content with ecommerce to make it even easier for customers to find and buy their perfect vehicle and for dealers and OEMs to market and sell their cars. Autovia has the only media portfolio to cover the entire UK car market from performance cars to mass market models. Powerhouse brands include AutoExpress, Car Throttle, BuyaCar, reaching two thirds of UK buyers.Its editorial teams have unrivalled access to the UK and global car industry, making them the established authority in all things automotive. Across the brands more than 1,500 cars are tested each year. BuyaCar is the UK’s first online used car buying site, offering the largest online inventory with 63,000+ cars available and 1,400+ dealers listed. Together Autovia offers unparalleled insights into the aspirations, intentions and behaviour of car enthusiasts, drivers and buyers and touch points across print, online, social, events and ecommerce. In 2020, our brands recorded 96m website visits, generating more than 250m page views, are followed by more than 14m users across major social media channels and sell over 2.5million magazines per year.