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1 in 5 New Car Buyers Prioritise Technology over Safety

21 May 2014

1 in 5 New Car Buyers Prioritise Technology over Safety

More than half of Aucklanders and Gen Ys buy their car based solely on appearance

Auckland, 21 May 2014 – A nationwide survey by Canstar Blue has revealed that 20% of new car buyers prioritise technology over safety features.

The importance of iPod connectivity, and other new technologies, ahead of safety is highest among Gen Ys and Aucklanders, with one in three Gen Ys and 30 per cent of Aucklanders placing special emphasis on technology features.

Derek Bonnar, Canstar General Manager, New Zealand says that for a large minority the survey, when it comes to choosing a new car, looks matter.

“Forty one per cent chose their car based solely on appearance, with aesthetics being of particular importance to Aucklanders (52%) and Gen Ys (59%). Men were more likely than women to purchase a vehicle based on how it looks.”

Reflecting continuing high petrol prices, fuel economy continues to be big factor in the purchase decision. More than three quarters of new car buyers are concerned with fuel economy, a small increase on the year before.

Bonnar says that third party reviews and internet ratings are a popular source of pre- purchase information for car buyers (71%), ahead of seeking advice from family and friends (55%).

“It’s never been easier for people to research big ticket purchases. Consumer reviews, independent research reports and satisfaction surveys like Canstar Blue’s can all provide important information that can help people make more informed decisions.

“Regardless of age group or region, people from all walks of life and backgrounds are consulting online reviews. Women are less likely than men to consult online reviews and ratings and more likely than men to seek the advice of family and friends.”

Bonnar urged a note of caution to the (more than) one-in-four new car that borrow money to purchase their vehicle.

“While it is a very special thing to be able to purchase a brand new car, owners mustn’t forget that they have – in most cases – bought a depreciating asset. Borrowing money to make the purchase and then paying interest, can make the overall cost of the vehicle very high, once depreciation is factored in. If debt can’t be avoided, then car owners should look to pay their vehicle loan off as soon as possible.”

Breaking down New Zealand’s car buying habits by region:

Aucklanders- are most likely to regard their car as a status symbol (39%), most likely to shop around for the lowest quote when getting their car serviced (43%), most likely to buy their car based on appearance (52%), equal most likely (with Wellington) to factor fuel economy in their purchasing decision (80%), most likely to borrow money to purchase their car (34%), most likely to get advice from friends and family (69%) and most likely to prioritise technology features over safety features (30%).

Waikato people- are equal least likely (with Canterbury) to see their car as a reflection of their personality (50%), least likely to see their car as a status symbol (15%) and equal least likely (with Otago) to not seek advice from any source (22%).

Wellingtonians- are equal most likely (with Auckland) to factor fuel economy into their purchase decision (80%) and least likely to prioritise technology features over safety features (11%).

Cantabrians- are equal least likely (with Waikato) to regard their car as a status symbol (50%), least likely to buy their car based on appearance (31%), least likely to borrow money to purchase their car (21%) and least likely to read internet reviews and ratings for purchase advice (67%).

Otago people- are most likely to believe that their car reflects their personality (61%), least likely to shop around for the lowest quote when getting their cars serviced (19%), most likely to read internet reviews and ratings for purchase advice (78%) and equal least likely (with Waikato) to not seek advice from anyone (22%).

Bay of Plenty people- are least likely to factor fuel economy into their purchase decision (61%), least likely to seek advice from friends and family (41%) and most likely to not seek out advice from anyone (37%).

The survey asked new car buyers to rank major car brands across six categories:
1. Value for money
2. Point of sale service
3. After sale service
4. Reliability
5. Performance
6. Overall satisfaction

Suzuki prevailed as the overall winner ahead of (in no particular order) Kia, Mazda, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Holden and Nissan, and was the only brand to receive 5 star ratings in all six categories.

“Suzuki is to be congratulated for its performance. With cars like the Swift, Suzuki is making small cars both affordable and attractive to a wide audience,” says Bonnar.

About the survey
Canstar Blue commissions Research Now to regularly survey New Zealand consumers to measure their satisfaction across a range of products and services. The outcomes reported here are the results from a survey of consumers who have purchased new car from a dealership in the last three years, in this case, 593 people. The survey has a margin of error +/- 4%.

Age Groups:
Gen Y: 18-29
Gen X: 30-44
Baby Boomers: 45+

*To view the full results of the Canstar Blue survey go to:

Click here for further information.

About Canstar Blue:
Canstar Blue is a division of financial research and ratings company,CANSTAR, which has been operating in New Zealand for nearly a decade.

Canstar Blue uses market research to determine customer satisfaction ratings across a range of products and services in New Zealand to help consumers make the best purchasing decisions for their needs. Canstar Blue conducts similar research in Australia. New ratings are added regularly. Results are freely available to consumers who are encouraged to use the ratings as a guide to product excellence. The results can be seen at

Founded in 1992, CANSTAR Pty Limited is Australia and New Zealand's premier researcher of retail finance information for over 350 institutions such as banks, building societies, credit unions, finance companies, brokers, mortgage originators, life companies and finance related internet portals. CANSTAR customers use the extensive database for competitor analysis as well as a means of disseminating their product range. This information is also distributed to print and electronic media for publication and to agents, accountants, brokers and internet portals for use in advising their clients.


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