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Survey: Price trumps safety as top motivator in vehicle choice

November 24, 2010

Here's a market research finding that confirms what retailers already know, but confounds and shocks consumer advocates and commentators in the mainstream media: Price, as measured by the size of the monthly payment, and not vehicle safety is overwhelmingly the primary factor considered by consumers when buying a car. In fact, safety finished sixth.

Art Spinella's CNW Marketing/ Research conducted a study of the features and factors that consumers feel are important when buying a new vehicle. The size of the monthly payment (87.4 percent of consumers) was considered more important than overall safety (45.1 percent). Conveniently placed cup holders (64.2 percent), luggage capacity (56.5 percent), sound systems (55.1 percent), and interior appearance (48.3 percent) also ranked higher than safety.

The one exception to the desire for safety was air bags. Listed separately, they were considered important by 80.2 percent who bought in 2001, down from 81.9 percent in 2000. Safety was rated important by 45.1 percent of consumers, but low financing rates were judged important by 57.9 percent, low sticker price important to 79.2 percent and low monthly payments important to 87.4 percent of buyers.