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Market Research Reveals Drivers Behind Vehicle Choice

This blog shares some of the key market research insights into the choice drivers of vehicle purchasing. The data is taken from ACA Research's Automotive Finance Insights Report. The research provides vehicle manufacturers and dealers with essential observations into the decision making factors among vehicle buyers.

The top drivers of vehicle choice fall into three major tiers:

  1. Key Factors Expected
  2. Differentiating Factors
  3. Nice-To-Haves

Vehicle Choice Market Research

Key Factors Expected

The top tier of factors that the majority of consumers that expect when purchasing a vehicle include reliability, suitability, safety and value for money. These represent the hygiene factors applicable to almost all buyers in the market. If a vehicle fails to impress a potential buyer in one or more of these categories, they will quickly be eliminated from the shopping list of potential vehicle.

Differentiating Factors

These are the key deciding factors, the battleground where purchase decisions will be won and lost. As these aren’t defined as essential choice drivers, vehicle manufacturers and dealerships have an excellent opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The differentiating factors consist of:

  1. Driving dynamics
  2. Engine performance
  3. Brand reputation
  4. Most suitable interior design
  5. Fuel economy
  6. Good warranty


While still important for some, a number of other factors are also at play for a smaller number of vehicle purchasers. The following factors are essentially 'nice to have':

  1. Best features included as standard
  2. Stylish exterior
  3. Previous positive brand experience
  4. Best optional extras at no cost

The final two factors - environmental credentials and finance deal offered at the dealership - are significant for only a small proportion of buyers. The finance deal offered by the dealership is particularly notable, given that buyer's main financial institution plays a significant role in the financing of a vehicle. This suggests a separation of the vehicle purchase process and the task of financing it.

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Note on methodology: ACA Research conducted a total of 802 surveys with consumers who have bought a vehicle worth more than $7,500 using finance. Research was conducted from the 17th to 29th June 2011.

Topics: Market Research Automotive Research