Mileage turns ignition key to buyer wallets

The never-ending quest for fuel efficiency is the primary factor literally driving a buyer’s new vehicle of choice. According to the J D Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Escaped Shopper StudySM (ESS) released on Thursday.

The study noted that one-third of new vecicle shoppers rejected a vehicle they initially considered purchasing because they wanted a vehicle with better fuel economy. Price continues to be among the major reasons for rejecting a vehicle, the study noted. However, shoppers have cited price less often in 2012 compared with 2011 as they increasingly prefer vehicles that provide a cost-of-operation advantage.

“The increases in fuel prices during the past year appear to have a significant impact on vehicle shopping preferences and vehicle-buying decisions,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J D Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. “Vehicle operating costs are therefore superseding initial acquisition costs in the buying decision process, as shoppers increasingly choose between similar priced vehicles.”

The India Escaped Shopper Study was based on the responses of 7,382 buyers and 2,721 rejecters of new cars and new utility vehicles who purchased their vehicle between September 2011 and April 2012. 

The study noted that cross-shopping activity in India has been increasing year upon year, as more prospective vehicle buyers are considering one or more models during their shopping process. It found that 28 per cent of new vehicle buyers considered one or more vehicles before selecting the vehicle they ultimately purchased, up from 23 per cent in 2011.

The increase in cross-shopping rates has been primarily driven by repeat new vehicle buyers -- shoppers who are either purchasing an additional vehicle or replacing their household vehicle -- as more than one-third of repeat buyers considered one or more models during their shopping activity, an increase of nearly 9 per cent from 2011.

The cross-shopping rate among first-time vehicle buyers remained largely unchanged
from 2011 at 20 per cent, the sut.

“Repeat buyers tend to shop more than first-time buyers, but this has further increased in 2012 with the launch of several new models in the country,” Arora said, adding that repeat buyers typically have a greater willingness to experiment with new models that are launched in the market.

“With the significant increase in new model launches in 2012, this set of shoppers clearly has a wider range of choices,” he said.

Arora also noted that repeat vehicle buyers show greater involvement in the shopping process and are more likely to visit dealerships and test-drive new models before making their final purchase decision.

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