Small Cars, Big Market?1
Survey Shows What Buyers Want – And Their Hesitation to Think Small
TUSTIN, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2009) – A just released study on the future of small cars in the United States shows American consumers are increasingly interested in smaller cars, but with reservations about size and features. The study underscores the challenge automakers face in trying to meet government mandated improvements in fuel economy while still delivering what consumers want and will buy. Many carmakers have recently introduced new, smaller cars to the market and are launching more in the future.
“Our research indicates that American car buyers are definitely willing to buy a more fuel-efficient car, but that they don’t want it to be much smaller than what they are driving today,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, the research firm that conducted the study. “Tomorrow’s successful small car won’t be tiny. It will be reasonably sized, have increased fuel economy, adequate performance and a full load of customer features.”
AutoPacific’s study – “Small Cars in the USA – Planning for the Coming Boom” – is based on the results of AutoPacific’s annual survey of over 32,000 new car and light truck buyers in the United States. The study closely looks at recent buyers of new small and mid-size cars plus people who will consider a compact car the next time they buy. The study details who has bought and will buy smaller cars, what was important to them in their recent purchase, how satisfied they are with their present vehicle and what changes they would make to their car.
“This survey shows that present owners of the smallest cars like the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Chevrolet Aveo want more power and acceleration, more technology and more cargo room next time they buy,” said Peterson. “When they bought these cars they accepted lower power and cargo room for better fuel economy and a high value price, but in the future they want something more – bigger, faster and with more bells and whistles.”
The AutoPacific small car study was undertaken to determine what buyers want from their future cars, including size, engine, transmission and attributes like entertainment features, luxury features, in-vehicle communications and comfort and convenience features. “The question is whether American car buyers will avidly embrace smaller size new products,” added Peterson. “In our Motorist Choice Awards polling, released last month, 106 of the top 107 were large cars, luxury cars, sport utility vehicles, crossover SUVs or minivans. Only one small car, the BMW 1-Series, scored in the top 100, landing in the 35th slot.”
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AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing research and product-consulting firm. Every year AutoPacific publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm, founded in 1986, also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters and its state-of-the-art automotive research facility are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area. Additional information can be found on AutoPacific’s websites: http://www.autopacific.com and http:/.vehiclevoice.com.
Dan Hall, AutoPacific, (714) 838-4234, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Smith, PCGCampbell, (310) 224-4954, email@example.com