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 Purchasing Process - UK - May 2012

“The much expected recovery of the new car market following the recent recession has failed to materialise. Cautious consumers have in many cases opted to delay the purchase of a vehicle or buy used. For manufacturers and dealers, the result is ever more intense pressure to ensure that they fully understand the needs and desires of buyers.”

– Neil Mason, Head of Retail Research

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • Will new car sales return to 2006 levels?
  • What interplay do new car sales have with the used sector?
  • Are mass-market brands in long-term decline?
  • Can car purchasing be made more enjoyable?
  • What future for dealers?

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

            • The market
              • New car sales on hold?
                • Figure 1: New car registrations, 2006-16
              • Market factors
                • Performance of UK economy not helping the sector
                  • Buyers become more individual...
                    • Companies, brands and innovation
                      • German and value brands benefiting the most
                        • Figure 2: Attitudes towards and usage of brands in the car sector, March 2012
                      • Retailing trends
                        • The consumer
                          • Dealer network continues to contract
                            • Figure 3: Where last car was purchased, March 2012
                          • Cost uppermost in consumers’ minds
                            • Figure 4: Considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, March 2012
                            • Figure 5: Consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, March 2012
                          • What we think
                          • Issues in the Market

                              • Will new car sales return to 2006 levels?
                                • What interplay do new car sales have with the used sector?
                                  • Are mass-market brands in long-term decline?
                                    • Can car purchasing be made more enjoyable?
                                      • What future for dealers?
                                      • Future Opportunities

                                        • Guiding Choice
                                          • Cam Cam
                                          • Internal Market Environment

                                            • Key points
                                              • Purchasers remain wary of buying a car in the current market...
                                                • Figure 6: New car registrations, 2006-11
                                              • An ageing car parc
                                                • Figure 7: When current car was obtained, 2011
                                              • Purchasing intentions unlikely to improve
                                                • Figure 8: Frequency of replacing the car, 2010 and 2011
                                              • Lacklustre demand from those seeking to buy within coming two years
                                                • Figure 9: When planned to buy, 2011
                                              • Dealers trying to stimulate sales
                                                • Second-hand holds an important place amongst car owners…
                                                  • Figure 10: Ownership of new and second-hand vehicles, 2011
                                                • ... with this set to continue for future purchases
                                                  • Figure 11: Intention to purchase new and second-hand vehicles, 2011
                                                • Hatchbacks proving popular
                                                  • Figure 12: Vehicle choice for those looking to purchase in the next 2 years, 2011
                                                • Rising fuel prices make motoring increasingly expensive...
                                                  • Figure 13: Monthly UK petrol diesel and oil price trends, 2009-12*
                                                • Personal Contract Purchase proving popular
                                                  • Tax system focused towards less polluting cars
                                                    • Figure 14: 12-month vehicle excise duty rates (on/after 1st April 2011)*
                                                  • Government support for ultra-low emission vehicles
                                                    • Figure 15: Cars eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant 2012
                                                    • Figure 16: Electric, hybrid and AFV sales*, 2010 and 2011
                                                  • Spouses play an important role when purchasing
                                                    • Figure 17: Who decided on make and model, 2011
                                                • Broader Market Environment

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • UK economy beginning to recover...
                                                      • Figure 18: GDP, PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at constant 2006 prices, 2006-16
                                                      • Figure 19: GDP quarterly percentage change, Q1 2004-Q3 2011
                                                    • ... but consumer confidence remains shaky
                                                      • Figure 20: GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index, January 1988-December 2011
                                                    • Cars compete alongside many other areas for consumer expenditure
                                                      • Figure 21: Consumer expenditure, by sector (£m), 2010
                                                    • Unemployment set to fall back between 2011 and 2016
                                                      • Figure 22: Employment and unemployment, by gender, 2006-16
                                                    • Small car sales should benefit from growth in number of smaller households
                                                      • Figure 23: Number of Households and persons per household, 2000-31 (proj)
                                                    • Increasing wealth should stimulate trading up when purchasing
                                                      • Figure 24: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2006-16
                                                    • Mixed opportunities from population change
                                                      • Figure 25: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2006-16
                                                  • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                    • Strengths
                                                      • Weaknesses
                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • New car sales remain subdued
                                                            • Figure 26: UK new registrations of motor vehicles, 2006-16
                                                          • New car scrappage scheme bolsters sales during 2009/10
                                                            • Business and fleet sales performing much better
                                                              • Forecast
                                                                • Figure 27: UK new registrations of motor vehicles, 2006-16
                                                              • A health warning
                                                              • Segment Performance

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Growth in sales of mini format cars
                                                                    • Figure 28: Sales of cars* by type, mini and medium size cars, 2006-11
                                                                  • Executive cars also receiving strong interest
                                                                    • Figure 29: Sales of cars* by type, other cars, 2006-11
                                                                  • Private buyers more likely to purchase supermini and 4x4/SUVs…
                                                                    • Figure 30: Sales of new vehicles, % share by purchaser type, 2011
                                                                  • ... with a trend towards more specialist purchases generally
                                                                    • Figure 31: Share of vehicle types amongst private purchasers, 2010 and 2011
                                                                • Market Shares

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • German brands making good progress with purchasers
                                                                      • Figure 32: Manufacturer shares of new car registrations, 2009-11
                                                                    • German brands grow share amongst new car buyers
                                                                      • Lack of va va voom dents performance of French brands
                                                                        • Are consumers looking for something different?
                                                                        • Retailing Trends

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Dealer network numbers in steady decline
                                                                              • Figure 33: Number of UK franchised dealer outlets, 2000 -11
                                                                            • Pendragon dominates the overall dealer market
                                                                              • Figure 34: Top ten dealership groups in the UK*, 2011
                                                                            • Arnold Clark and Pendragon lead amongst used car sales
                                                                              • Figure 35: Top ten used car dealership groups in the UK*, 2011
                                                                            • The growing presence of car supermarkets
                                                                              • A growing number of supermarkets boast multiple sites
                                                                                • Figure 36: Leading car supermarket operators, 2012
                                                                              • Use of online tools becoming more commonplace when purchasing...
                                                                                • ... but limited at the moment
                                                                                • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Promotional expenditure showing signs of recovery
                                                                                      • Figure 37: Topline spend in the UK car market, 2008-11
                                                                                    • VW and Ford lead current investment
                                                                                      • Figure 38: Top 20 car manufacturers in the UK, by advertising expenditure, 2008-11*
                                                                                    • Certain manufacturers signal intention to raise awareness of key brands
                                                                                      • Figure 39: Top 20 car models in the UK, by advertising expenditure, 2011
                                                                                    • Internet growing in popularity
                                                                                      • Figure 40: Advertising expenditure, by channel, 2008-11
                                                                                      • Figure 41: Advertising expenditure, by channel, 2008-11
                                                                                  • Brand Research

                                                                                    • Brand map
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Attitudes towards and usage of brands in the car sector, March 2012
                                                                                      • Correspondence analysis
                                                                                        • Brand attitudes
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Attitudes by car brand, March 2012
                                                                                        • Brand personality
                                                                                          • Figure 44: Car brand personality – macro image, March 2011
                                                                                          • Figure 45: Car brand personality – micro image, March 2012
                                                                                        • Brand experience
                                                                                          • Figure 46: Car brand usage, March 2012
                                                                                          • Figure 47: Satisfaction with various car brands, March 2012
                                                                                          • Figure 48: Consideration of car brands, March 2012
                                                                                          • Figure 49: Consumer perceptions of current car brand performance, March 2012
                                                                                          • Figure 50: Car brand recommendation – Net Promoter Score, March 2012
                                                                                        • Brand index
                                                                                          • Figure 51: Car brand index, March 2012
                                                                                          • Figure 52: Car brand index vs. recommendation, March 2012
                                                                                        • Target group analysis
                                                                                          • Figure 53: Target groups, March 2012
                                                                                          • Figure 54: Automotive brand usage, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                        • Group One – Conformists
                                                                                          • Group Two – Simply the Best
                                                                                            • Group Three – Shelf Stalkers
                                                                                              • Group Four – Habitual Shoppers
                                                                                                • Group Five – Individualists
                                                                                                • The Consumer – Key Considerations When Car Buying

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Price is most important to buyers
                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, March 2012
                                                                                                      • Price is crucial for those on lower incomes
                                                                                                        • Older drivers focus on benefits while younger drivers on design and quality
                                                                                                          • Londoners have different demands...
                                                                                                            • ... as do those living in rural locations
                                                                                                              • Are buyers becoming more demanding?
                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Considerations when buying a car, February 2011 v March 2012
                                                                                                              • Costs are especially important to those buying used
                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, by car buying plans, March 2012
                                                                                                              • Certain non-price factors are more important to those spending more on a vehicle
                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, by purchase price, March 2012
                                                                                                              • Safety a factor for half of big spenders
                                                                                                                • Costs and reliability dominate thinking for those spending less than £10,000
                                                                                                                  • Costs ... a postscript
                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – The Purchasing Process

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Car purchasing process produces polarised views
                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, March 2012
                                                                                                                        • Women find buying process stressful
                                                                                                                          • Men are more engaged in the buying process
                                                                                                                            • Is the internet helping young purchasers?
                                                                                                                              • Londoners find purchasing difficult
                                                                                                                                • Used buyers appear less confident
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, by car buying plans, March 2012
                                                                                                                                • Used buyers more likely to ask others for assistance
                                                                                                                                  • New buyers are immersed in buying process
                                                                                                                                    • Those who replace their cars least often are also less likely to enjoy purchasing
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, by car ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Car buyers can be split into three groups
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Group characteristics
                                                                                                                                      • Reluctant Buyers (33%)
                                                                                                                                        • Enthusiastic Buyers (39%)
                                                                                                                                          • Savvy Buyers (28%)
                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – Most Recent Car Purchase

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Car dealers dominate consumer thinking
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Where last car was purchased, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Older buyers go for main dealers
                                                                                                                                                  • Londoners opt to buy private
                                                                                                                                                    • Middle income drivers favour private purchases
                                                                                                                                                      • Main dealers dominate when it comes to new car sales
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Where last car was purchased, by car buying plans, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Private sellers and independents dominate the used market
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Where last car was purchased, by purchase price, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Car Purchasing

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Low running costs and shopping around are both important to consumers
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Cost and meeting specific needs most important
                                                                                                                                                            • A car is just a car to many motorists
                                                                                                                                                              • Few motorists are narrow minded
                                                                                                                                                                • Those buying new are more likely to look at particular features
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 67: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements, by car buying plans, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • New and used buyers agree on costs and shopping
                                                                                                                                                                  • New car buyers are more demanding
                                                                                                                                                                    • Young adults are strongly attached to their cars
                                                                                                                                                                      • Men are good target for luxury brands
                                                                                                                                                                        • ... while women want practicality and safety
                                                                                                                                                                          • Big spenders are more likely to want something specific
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements, by car purchase price, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Costs important to those spending least on a car
                                                                                                                                                                            • Middle income purchasers look at other factors
                                                                                                                                                                              • Big spenders – niche demands
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Brand usage, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Brand commitment, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Brand momentum, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 72: Brand diversity, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 73: Brand satisfaction, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 74: Brand recommendation, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Brand attitude, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 76: Brand image – macro image, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Brand image – micro image, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Profile of target groups, by demographic, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Psychographic segmentation, by target group, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Brand usage, by target group, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand index
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Brand index, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Consumer – Key Considerations When Car Buying

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Most popular considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Next most popular considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Other considerations when buying a car whether new or second-hand, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Consumer – The Purchasing Process

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 85: Most popular consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 86: Next most popular consumer attitudes towards car purchasing, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 87: Target groups, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Consumer – Most Recent Car Purchases

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 88: Where last car was purchased, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Consumer – Attitudes Towards Car Purchasing

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 89: Agreement with the statements ‘Shopping around is important to me’ and ‘A car with low running costs is important to me’, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 90: Agreement with the statements ‘I would consider buying an electric car or hybrid car as they are cheaper to run’ and ‘My car reflects my personality’, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 91: Agreement with the statements ‘I would spend a lot of time keeping my car looking as good as possible’ and ‘Practicality is more of a priority for me than performance’, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Agreement with the statements ‘My car means a lot to me’ and ‘I would choose a car that suits my family’s needs over my own personal preference’, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Agreement with the statements ‘I would only consider certain luxury brands’ and ‘I would only consider certain types of cars eg off roader/4x4’, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Agreement with the statements ‘Safety features are more important to me than looks’ and ‘Being able to part exchange my old car is important to me’, by demographics, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Agreement with the statement ‘I worry about the impact of driving on the environment’, by demographics, March 2012

                                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                              • AB Volvo
                                                                                                                                                                              • Audi United Kingdom
                                                                                                                                                                              • BMW (GB) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Fiat Auto
                                                                                                                                                                              • Ford Motor Company Limited (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                              • Honda Motor Co. Ltd (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                              • Hyundai Car (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Kia Motors UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Land Rover UK
                                                                                                                                                                              • Mazda Motors UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Mercedes-Benz UK
                                                                                                                                                                              • Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Peugeot Motor Company Plc
                                                                                                                                                                              • PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                              • Renault (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Suzuki GB PLC
                                                                                                                                                                              • Toyota (GB) PLC
                                                                                                                                                                              • Vauxhall Motors Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                              • Volkswagen UK

                                                                                                                                                                              Car Purchasing Process - UK - May 2012

                                                                                                                                                                              £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)