Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Car Buying - UK - March 2011

The UK car market has undergone a difficult period during the last three years. Sales to the private sector, of both new and used cars, were badly hit by the UK economy entering recession during 2008. The consequent scaling back of consumer expenditure on high ticket items dented demand which has only begun to strengthen once again since 2010.

  • Optimism appears to be growing among consumers with research for this report showing that four in ten adults are currently considering buying a new or used car in the coming 12 months.
  • A major trend is that towards smaller, more fuel efficient cars, thanks to the rising cost of fuel. This is also set to stimulate sales of alternative fuelled vehicles, along with government incentives and manufacturers’ developments in this technology.
  • Price and getting as good a deal as possible is the most important factor for many consumers when buying a car, either new or used. This is more important to female buyers, as are the cost of insuring the vehicle and its safety standards. Men have more interest than women in the car’s build quality and its speed/power.
  • Ford is the leading car marque in terms of volume sales, advertising expenditure and also in consumer desirability. There are some preferences by demographics, with men keen on the BMW brand (except for the Mini model which has a far higher appeal to women), and with older drivers preferring Japanese brands.
  • Our research for this report shows considerable distrust of car sales staff. Women have greater tendency to think salespeople will sell them additional extras that they don’t need (seven in ten) and half don’t enjoy the haggling process. Women are keener to buy from a dealership closer to home for ease of servicing and after-sales service.
  • Mintel believes there is more potential for car dealerships to help those who are least ‘car-savvy’ to learn more about their vehicle, eg how to check tyre pressures and monitor oil and water levels, by offering classes, and to improve the car buying experience with a more transparent pricing system.

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary – Car Buying

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Best and worst case forecast new registrations, private*, 2005-15
            • Car sales suffer as recession takes hold
              • Market factors
                • Rising fuel prices
                  • Scrappage Incentive Scheme
                    • Companies, brands and innovation
                      • Figure 2: Makes of car seriously considered, top 10 responses, February 2011
                    • Subtle changes taking place to retailing
                      • Big brands suffer from increased competition
                        • Advertising support suffers as car sales slip back
                          • The consumer
                            • Figure 3: Important considerations when buying next car, men vs. women, February 2011
                          • Price key, but not the only factor, when purchasing a car
                            • Ford in the lead
                              • Negative view of sales staff
                                • Figure 4: Attitudes towards car dealers, men vs. women, February 2011
                              • What we think
                              • Issues in the Market

                                  • Which car makes and models are doing best in the current economic climate?
                                    • Where would buyers go to buy their next car and how are newer sales channels faring in attracting buyers?
                                      • What considerations are uppermost in consumers’ minds when looking to buy a new car.
                                        • What are consumers’ opinions of car salespeople and how much do buyers enjoy the car buying process?
                                        • Future Opportunities

                                            • Trend: Prove it
                                              • Trend: Resilience
                                              • Internal Market Environment

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Car purchases suffer as the UK is hit by recession
                                                    • Figure 5: New car registrations and private car sales, 2006-11
                                                  • Small car sales benefit from government support...
                                                    • ... as illustrated by strong sales during 2009
                                                      • Figure 6: Sales of new vehicles by type (private and fleet), 2006-10
                                                    • Longer car replacement cycles...
                                                      • Figure 7: When current car was obtained, 2010
                                                    • ... although things are set to improve
                                                      • Figure 8: Intention for someone in the family to buy a car in the next 12 months, February 2011
                                                    • Future new sales appear especially strong...
                                                      • ... although the second-hand market is the more buoyant
                                                        • Rising fuel prices make motoring more expensive
                                                          • Figure 9: Monthly UK petrol diesel and oil price trends, 2009-11*
                                                        • Changing approach to vehicle taxation
                                                          • Figure 10: 12-month vehicle excise duty rates (on/after 1st April 2001)*
                                                          • Figure 11: 12-month vehicle excise duty rates (on/after 1st April 2010)*
                                                        • Government support for AFVs should also stimulate purchases
                                                        • External Market Environment

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Slowdown in economy hits consumer expenditure hard
                                                              • Figure 12: GDP, PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                              • Figure 13: GDP quarterly percentage change, Q1 2005-Q4 2010
                                                            • Recovery from recession will assist market
                                                              • Figure 14: Employment and unemployment, by gender, 2005-15
                                                            • Smaller households should shift interest towards smaller cars
                                                              • Figure 15: Number of Households and persons per household, 2000-31 (proj)
                                                            • Increasing wealth should stimulate trading up
                                                              • Figure 16: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2005-15
                                                            • Mixed opportunities for purchasing from population change
                                                              • Figure 17: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2005-15
                                                          • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                            • Strengths
                                                              • Weaknesses
                                                              • Competitive Context

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Cars are amongst the most important items of consumer expenditure
                                                                    • Figure 18: Consumer expenditure, by sector (£m), 2009
                                                                  • Food and personal goods and services lead in terms of expenditure
                                                                    • Figure 19: Consumer expenditure (current prices), by major category 2005-09
                                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Private sector sales suffer as UK market enters recession
                                                                      • Figure 20: UK new registrations of motor vehicles (private sector), 2006-15
                                                                    • Used car sales slip back first...
                                                                      • ... and suffer further as new car scrappage scheme is rolled out
                                                                        • Motor vehicle sales set to strengthen in short- and medium term
                                                                          • Forecast
                                                                            • Figure 21: Best and worst case forecast new registrations, private*, 2005-15
                                                                        • Segment Performance

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Growth in sales of minis
                                                                              • Figure 22: Sales of cars* by type, mini and medium size cars, 2005-10
                                                                              • Figure 23: Sales of new vehicles, % share by type and by purchaser type, 2010
                                                                          • Market Shares

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Purchasers turning away from big brands
                                                                                • Figure 24: Manufacturer shares of new car registrations, 2007-10
                                                                              • British and French brands falling out of favour?
                                                                                • Japanese brands also losing reputation
                                                                                  • In contrast, German brands are proving increasingly popular
                                                                                    • Growing interest in small brands is also evident
                                                                                    • Retailing Trends

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Dealer distribution network in decline
                                                                                          • Figure 25: Number of UK franchised dealer outlets, 2000 -09
                                                                                        • Big names dominate the dealer market
                                                                                          • Figure 26: Top ten dealership groups in the UK*, 2010
                                                                                        • Arnold Clark and Pendragon lead in the used car sector
                                                                                          • Figure 27: Top ten used car dealership groups in the UK*, 2010
                                                                                        • The growing presence of car supermarkets
                                                                                          • What’s the difference compared to traditional dealers and independents?
                                                                                            • A growing number of supermarkets boast multiple sites
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Leading car supermarket operators, 2010
                                                                                            • Going online to buy a car
                                                                                            • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Reduction in adspend during recession
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Main media advertising expenditure on cars, 2006-10
                                                                                                • Ford spends most on advertising to consolidate its position as No. 1 car marque
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Leading car advertisers, (cumulative spend of £50,000 or more), 2006-10
                                                                                                • Smaller models currently most heavily advertised
                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Top 20 car models advertised in 2010
                                                                                              • The Consumer – Key Considerations When Car Buying

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Most important criteria when choosing to buy a car, February 2011
                                                                                                  • Price is key
                                                                                                    • Features that enhance a customer’s experience of the vehicle are rated highly
                                                                                                      • Men and women look for different factors when purchasing
                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Main differences in key considerations, by gender, February 2011
                                                                                                        • Older drivers are less swayed by branding
                                                                                                          • Price is key for those in the lowest socio-economic groups
                                                                                                            • Buyers of used vehicles appear more driven by cost
                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Important criteria when choosing to buy a car, by purchase intention in the next 12 months, February 2011
                                                                                                          • The Consumer - Preferred Car Brands

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Ford dominates as the most preferred brand
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Makes of car seriously considered, February 2011
                                                                                                                • What buyers want and actually buy is not always the same
                                                                                                                  • Small brands are largely viewed as marginal
                                                                                                                    • German brands prove popular with men
                                                                                                                      • Japanese brands popular with older drivers
                                                                                                                        • Brands like Mini record niche appeal
                                                                                                                          • New buyers go for quality brands, used buyers opt for mass market marques
                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Makes of car one would seriously consider buying, by intention to buy a new or second-hand car in the next 12 months, February 2011
                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Where Next Car Would be Purchased

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Dealers are the preferred channel for most consumers
                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Where next car would be bought, February 2011
                                                                                                                              • Choice between dealer and private sale is a matter of affluence
                                                                                                                                • Car supermarkets, main dealer and online auctions appeal more to men
                                                                                                                                  • Young buyers show stronger interest in online purchasing
                                                                                                                                    • Main dealers dominate new car sales
                                                                                                                                      • Dealers dominate larger purchases with fragmentation for smaller levels of expenditure
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Where next car would be bought, by intention to buy a new or second-hand car in the next 12 months, February 2011
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Car Purchase

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Attitudes towards purchasing illustrate importance of cost and getting a deal
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Attitudes towards buying the next car, February 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Vehicle features seen as secondary by many
                                                                                                                                            • Brand preferences appear somewhat set in stone
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes towards buying the next car, by gender, February 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Purchasers of used cars appear focused on the running costs of their intended vehicle...
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Attitudes towards buying the next car, by intention to buy a new or second-hand car in the next 12 months, February 2011
                                                                                                                                              • … with those spending less generally less bothered about aesthetics and image
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Attitudes towards buying the next car, by total cost of the car, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Attitudes towards buying the next car, by total cost of the car (continued), February 2011
                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Car dealerships

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Attitudes towards car dealerships and sales staff, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Many buyers have a poor view of sales staff
                                                                                                                                                    • Sizeable percentage are happy to tell others about their experience
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Attitudes towards car dealerships and sales staff, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • New car buyers look for more from dealers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Attitudes towards car dealerships and sales staff, by intention to buy a new or second-hand car in the next 12 months, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Key Considerations When Car Buying

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Most popular important criteria in choosing to buy a car, by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Next most popular important criteria in choosing to buy a car, by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Other important criteria in choosing to buy a car by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Where Next Car Would be Purchased

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Where next car would be bought, by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Attitudes Towards Car Purchase

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Agreement towards statement ‘i will make sure i get the best or as good a deal as i can eg discount on list price, free servicing’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Agreement towards statement ‘i will spend as little money as possible on the initial purchase price‘ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Agreement towards statement ‘spending as little as possible on running costs (eg low insurance, road tax, fuel costs) is very important to me‘ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Agreement towards statement ‘i will make sure i obtain the best possible price for my old vehicle as part exchange‘, by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Agreement towards statement ‘i would consider buying an electric or hybrid car because they are cheaper to run’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Agreement towards statement ‘I’ll base my decision largely on how i feel about the car’s style, design, performance’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Agreement towards statement ‘I’ll base my decision largely on how i feel when i test drive the car’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Agreement towards statement ‘how well i get on with and trust the salesperson will help me make my decision’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Agreement towards statement ‘i know what brand/make i would like and will only look at cars within that brand’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Agreement towards statement ‘i know what type of vehicle i want and will look at several brands/makes (eg only interested in mini-vans)’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Agreement towards statement ‘safety and reliability features are more important to me than looks or brand‘ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Agreement towards statement ‘i will probably buy a bigger vehicle than i need because smaller cars are less safe on the roads‘ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Agreement towards statement ‘i don’t enjoy haggling over price’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Agreement towards statement ‘i won’t buy unless i negotiate something extra for free (eg paint colour, servicing, tank of fuel)’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Attitudes Towards Car Dealerships

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Agreement towards statement ‘i would go to more than one car dealer even if i find a car i want’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Agreement towards statement ‘car salespeople always try to sell extras that you don't want or need’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Agreement towards statement ‘car salespeople are untrustworthy’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Agreement towards statement ‘i have told/would tell others about a dealership/salesman after having a good experience’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Agreement towards statement ‘i have told/would tell others about a dealership/salesman after having a bad experience’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Agreement towards statement ‘the appearance of the showroom would influence my decision to purchase there’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Agreement towards statement ‘i would want to buy from somewhere close to home for ease of servicing and after-sales’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Agreement towards statement ‘i trust car sales people to advise me on which car best suits my needs’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Agreement towards statement ‘i would want to build up a relationship with the sales person before agreeing to buy’ by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Agreement towards statement ‘i like to have as little contact with the sales person as possible’ by demographics, February 2011

                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                    • AB Volvo
                                                                                                                                                    • Alfa Romeo
                                                                                                                                                    • Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Audi United Kingdom
                                                                                                                                                    • Bank of England
                                                                                                                                                    • BMW (GB) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Bristol Street Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
                                                                                                                                                    • Fiat Auto
                                                                                                                                                    • Ford Motor Company Limited (UK)
                                                                                                                                                    • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                    • Greenhous Group
                                                                                                                                                    • Honda Motor Co. Ltd (UK)
                                                                                                                                                    • Hyundai Car (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Jardine Motor Group plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                                                    • Kia Motors UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Land Rover UK
                                                                                                                                                    • Marshall Motor Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Mazda Motors UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Mercedes-Benz UK
                                                                                                                                                    • Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                                                    • Peugeot Motor Company Plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Renault (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Saab Automobile AB
                                                                                                                                                    • Skoda Auto a.s.
                                                                                                                                                    • Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
                                                                                                                                                    • Subaru (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Suzuki GB PLC
                                                                                                                                                    • Sytner Group plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Toyota (GB) PLC
                                                                                                                                                    • UK Car Group
                                                                                                                                                    • Vauxhall Motors Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Vertu Motors
                                                                                                                                                    • Volkswagen UK

                                                                                                                                                    Car Buying - UK - March 2011

                                                                                                                                                    £1,750.00 (Excl.Tax)