UK drivers prioritise style over safety, new report finds

61% of drivers surveyed said a brand’s reputation for quality was a reason for purchasing their car

BMW M3 Competition saloon - rear 3/4 view
  • 4 in 10 look for good value-for-money
  • Only 9% look to buy from ‘eco-friendly’ brands
  • Previous good experiences also help sway buyers

Image and styling are more important to drivers than a car’s safety credentials and how eco-friendly it is, according to research from Autovia. More than 1,200 motorists were quizzed about what they looked for when choosing a new car, with positive previous experiences from brands also considered important.

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The survey found that 61% of respondents considered car brands based on their reputations for quality. Following that, 53% chose a car primarily for its styling.

Brand loyalty is still a major factor, and the third most popular reason to select a car was a previous positive experience with a car from the same brand, while a quarter of respondents were swayed by good customer service at their local dealership.

At the other end of the scale, fewer than 1 in 10 people bought their car because of how eco-friendly it was. The only lower score was for people who’d bought a car based on good word-of-mouth from friends and family.

Safety doesn’t seem to be a big consideration for UK buyers, with a mere 24% citing crash protection as one of the primary reasons for choosing their car. If you are someone that considers safety during your research phase, we’ve compiled a list of the safest new cars on sale.

Perhaps due to the prominence of PCP finance deals and their bitesize monthly repayments, only 40% of buyers said they purchased their car because it was good value. Ownership costs often come second to style, with few buyers considering a car for its low insurance or servicing costs.

Steve Fowler, Autovia Editor-in-Chief, said: “Two of the most unexpected findings in this latest research are that environmental credentials and the influence of family and friends score so low, suggesting that customers feel much more strongly about an enjoyable and stylish car ownership experience that they have discovered through their own research.

“Dealers will also note that looking after the customer properly is key to retaining loyalty, with women in particular citing a previously good experience as the best reason to stick with a brand.”

Tell us what you think about your car by taking our quick Driver Power survey.

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