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National Survey Investigates What Cars Will Sell This Year

April 3, 2002

The current concept and production cars take center stage at the 2002 New York International Auto Show Apr. 1-5. At the same time, a national consumer survey reveals which cars are predicted to sell best this year. The survey plans to highlight how the events of 9/11 have affected Americans’ plans to purchase vehicles, what car categories are the hottest tickets and what type of advertising works best. E-Poll ( -- a market research and interactive technology company -- recently conducted a survey of consumers about their current cars and their future plans to purchase vehicles. The study was a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in late August 2001. Here are the key findings: Six months post-9/11 and post-0% financing deals, the percentage of consumers planning to buy or lease a new vehicle in the next year remains at approximately 40% -- the same as August 2001. Supporting recent reports of growing consumer confidence, 3 in 4 people surveyed report they aren’t delaying the purchase or lease of a vehicle due to the economy. This figure matches E-Poll’s pre-9/11 survey findings. Among potential car buyers, mid-size and compact cars are currently the most commonly owned vehicles (26% and 16%, respectively), with mid-size cars the top intended purchase (19%). When asked to name their "dream cars" without regard to price, Ford was #1, but three of the top five – Mercedes, BMW and Lexus – were luxury car types. SUVs topped the list of dream car types with all groups except very wealthy respondents.While 6% of car buyers currently own mid-size SUVs, double that percentage (12%) of consumers are seeking to buy SUVs within the next year – suggesting continued strong sales for this type of vehicle. According to E-Poll, car consumers report that television ads are key to informing them of new cars (61%). Seeing a car on the road (49%) and word-of-mouth (48%) also are very effective in informing prospective buyers. As far as advertising is concerned, consumers responded that they like to see the price of the car in a TV commercial and find it annoying if price is not mentioned. Other TV ad turnoffs include "overbearing/overplayed spokesperson" and not being able to get a good look at the vehicle itself. As a total, only 13% of buyers find the designs of cars they can afford exciting. 25 to 34 year olds are the happiest with the current car crop, with 24% agreeing that there are many exciting design options available to them in their price range. Approximately two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that new car features suit their needs. Of those consumers online, most plan on using the Internet to research various makes and models (71%), as well as pricing (70%) of cars before making their purchase. 5% even plan to purchase their car online. E-Poll claims men and young adults are the consumer groups most likely to use the Internet to research their next car purchase. The E-Poll survey of 791 respondents was conducted March 11-13, 2002. A representative group of adults 18+ was randomly selected from the E-Poll online panel. Results for gender were weighted to reflect the demographic makeup of the US car buying population. At a 95% confidence level, a sample error of +/- 4% is assumed for statistics based on the total sample of 791 respondents. Statistics based on sub-samples of the respondents are more sensitive to sampling error. Note: E-Poll’s Summer 2001 Car Buying Report of 448 respondents was conducted August 17-26, 2001. (Margin of error of +/-5% is assumed). To order the comprehensive copy of E-Poll’s "Vehicle Purchasing: Car Buyers Speak Out" 55-page report email [email protected] or via phone at 877-My-E-Poll (877-693-7655). About E-Poll Founded in 1997, E-Poll provides its clients with market research and interactive technology. E-Poll now offers The Edge, which according to the company, provide access to research, analysis tools, syndicated reports (entertainment/consumer), exportable raw data, executive summaries, access to U.S. and international panels, and survey writing tools. E-Poll services and technology are utilized by eight global media companies including ABC TV, CBS, NBC, Twentieth Television, Warner Bros. Corporate Media Research, Buena Vista Television, HBO, Fox Home Entertainment International, A&E Television Networks, Discovery Networks, FX, Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, Studios USA, ESPN, The Sci-Fi Channel, Microsoft TV, Columbia TriStar Interactive, MGM, Comcast and Motorola.
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