Small Car Buyer: Are You Really Satisfied With Your Purchase?

Small Car Buyer: Are You Really Satisfied With Your Purchase?

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When gas prices climbed last summer, consumers abandoned pickup trucks and sport/utility vehicles for smaller, lighter cars. Environmentalists and government policy makers applauded this move as it signaled that consumers were finally beginning to understand MINIthat preserving the earth really matters as does reducing our dependency on foreign sources of oil.

But are customers truly satisfied with their small car purchases? According to Mintel, a supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence, particularly as relates to consumer trends, that answer is a resounding no.

“Our survey revealed a surprisingly high number of small car drivers who aren’t fully satisfied by their vehicles, suggesting that today’s small cars may not have the amenities people want. This is a key insight for Detroit manufacturers as they revisit business and development plans for 2009,” comments Mark Guarino, senior analyst at Mintel.

It isn’t so much that people don’t want to conserve, rather they aren’t particularly thrilled with how their cars are optioned. In Europe, small cars are typically loaded with all of the creature comforts including leather seating, while in the US most small cars offer few amenities even when option packages are selected.

Mintel’s survey revealed that just 51% of small car buyers are “extremely happy” with their purchase while the average satisfaction rate for all car buyers is closer to 80%.

“There is great potential for growth in the small car market,” states Mark Guarino. “Automakers just need to figure out how to best package and sell the benefits of small cars to consumers.” Indeed, Mintel’s survey revealed that 42% of the small car buyers had previously owned a small car, suggesting that demand for these sized vehicles will continue to grow.

“The transition from expensive, gas-hogging SUV to cheaper, fuel-efficient compact will feel like less of a sacrifice if the smaller car offers similar luxury features. Automakers need these innovative strategies to show consumers they are committed to change,” concluded Guarino.

Source: Mintel International

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