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The Spatial Needs of Car Buyers - US - May 2009

This report explores vehicle storage and interior room in the U.S. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting storage needs, consumption, wants, and satisfaction levels, and what they mean for future sales, promotional campaigns, and industry innovations.

Specific questions that are answered in this report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What effects do gasoline costs, the economic downturn, and the move away from SUVs and toward more fuel-efficient cars have on the overall market?
  • What storage components, cargo-carrying abilities, and interior-room features are most important to consumers?
  • How can car companies use smaller vehicle designs to their advantage?
  • How are the growing number of taller, wider Americans impacting room and storage needs?
  • How is in-vehicle entertainment changing what people expect and use in vehicles?
  • How is the recession impacting the advertising and promotion of vehicle storage?
  • How can car manufacturers take advantage of the economic downturn to appeal to consumers seeking flexibility, practicality, and fuel-efficient designs?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Data sources
        • Consumer survey data
          • Abbreviations and terms
            • Abbreviations
              • Terms
              • Executive Summary

                • Vehicle storage impacted by move to smaller cars, changing driving habits
                  • Rising obesity rates, heights create pressure for more head, leg, hip room
                    • Innovation driving shifts towards multi-purpose flexibility, customization
                      • Vehicle ownership
                        • Roominess satisfaction
                          • Storage satisfaction
                            • Roominess priorities
                              • Storage priorities
                                • Cargo habits
                                  • In-vehicle activity habits
                                  • Inspire Insights

                                      • Trend 1: Instant Gratification
                                        • Is there no end in sight for the 24/7 on-demand society?
                                          • Vehicle interiors have become replacement offices, living rooms
                                            • Trend 2: Empowered Seniors
                                              • Seniors have been ignored; they are becoming insistent for attention
                                                • Seniors want more space for comfort, but also for safety
                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Majority of respondents satisfied with head, hip and leg room in vehicles
                                                      • Figure 1: Satisfaction regarding head, hip and leg room in vehicles, February 2009
                                                  • Roominess: Head Room

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Head room a more significant issue for younger consumers
                                                          • Figure 2: Satisfaction regarding head room in vehicles, by age, February 2009
                                                        • High-earning households most likely pleased with head room
                                                            • Figure 3: Satisfaction regarding head room in vehicles, by household income, February 2009
                                                        • Roominess: Hip Room

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Hip room satisfaction declines with age
                                                                • Figure 4: Satisfaction regarding hip room in vehicles, by age, February 2009
                                                              • High-earning households most satisfied with hip room
                                                                  • Figure 5: Satisfaction regarding hip room in vehicles, by household income, February 2009
                                                              • Roominess: Leg Room

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Males less enthused about available leg room than females
                                                                      • Figure 6: Satisfaction regarding leg room in vehicles, by gender, February 2009
                                                                    • Leg room most problematic for younger consumers
                                                                        • Figure 7: Satisfaction regarding leg room in vehicles, by age, February 2009
                                                                      • Leg room satisfaction improves with rise in household income
                                                                          • Figure 8: Satisfaction regarding leg room in vehicles, by household income, February 2009
                                                                      • Storage: Are Consumers Satisfied?

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Males more likely to purchase or rent storage compartments than females
                                                                            • Low purchase rate for storage accessories shows increased opportunity
                                                                                • Figure 9: Storage needs based on purchased or rented storage components, by gender, February 2009
                                                                              • Younger consumers drive storage component market
                                                                                  • Figure 10: storage needs based on purchased or rented storage components, by age, February 2009
                                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                                • Automotive design transitioning from large to small cars
                                                                                  • Average U.S. families represent 67% of total U.S. households
                                                                                    • Shorter road trips, less driving, impacting need for space
                                                                                      • SUV sales stall while small cars increase
                                                                                        • Obesity rates, average heights on the rise
                                                                                            • Figure 11: Average mean height (inches) for males and females, aged 20-74, spanning 1960-2002
                                                                                            • Figure 12: Average mean weight (pounds) for males and females, aged 20-74, spanning 1960-2002
                                                                                        • Brand Qualities

                                                                                          • Scion attracts youthful buyers by emphasizing customized comfort
                                                                                            • BMW’s MINI brand makes emphasizes functionality, roominess
                                                                                              • What has ensured the success of MINI?
                                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                • Chrysler Swivel ’n Go Seating System creates living-room atmosphere
                                                                                                  • Honda’s Magic Seat expands configuration options
                                                                                                    • GM targets back-seat passengers with internet capabilities
                                                                                                    • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                                      • Overview
                                                                                                        • Sober themes drive advertising, replacing creature comforts and styling
                                                                                                          • Internet increasingly influencing advertising, purchasing decisions
                                                                                                            • In-vehicle entertainment used to sell minivans, promote family bonding
                                                                                                                • Figure 13: Volkswagen Routan ad, 2009
                                                                                                              • Small now being portrayed in a positive light
                                                                                                                  • Figure 14: Mercedes-Benz GLK ad, 2008
                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: Mercedes-Benz GLK ad, 2008
                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Volkswagen Tiguan ad, 2008
                                                                                                                • Practicality, customization are the new indulgence
                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Chrysler Aspen ad, 2008
                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Chrysler 300 ad, 2008
                                                                                                              • Vehicles: What Consumers Own

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Four-door passenger sedans preferred most by every age group
                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Vehicle ownership, by age, February 2009
                                                                                                                    • Vehicle ownership largely invariable among household income levels
                                                                                                                        • Figure 20: Vehicle ownership, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                    • Roominess: What Consumers Value

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Leg room most important roominess aspect for both genders
                                                                                                                            • Figure 21: Satisfaction regarding head, hip and leg room in vehicles by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                          • Leg, head room highly valued across all household income levels
                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Satisfaction regarding head, hip and leg room in vehicles, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                          • Storage: What Consumers Value

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Storage slightly more appealing to females
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Important storage features, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                • Younger drivers place biggest emphasis on storage features
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Important storage features, by age, February 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Individual storage elements frequently prized by higher-income households
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Important storage features, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Cargo: What Consumers Transport

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Groceries, retail goods are most common types of vehicle cargo
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Cargo type transported most in vehicle, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                        • Younger drivers more frequently transport “active lifestyle” cargo
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Cargo type transported most in vehicle, by age, February 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Household incomes split cargo hauls according to fun, practicality
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Cargo type transported most in vehicle, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Activity Use Inside Vehicle

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Music, drinking, and eating dominate in-vehicle activities
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Common activities in vehicles by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Younger generations keep occupied via entertainment, food, multimedia
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Common activities in vehicles by age, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Future Purchasing

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Present vehicle cargo space largely satisfactory
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Opinions on future purchasing decisions, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Opinions—gender
                                                                                                                                                        • Females express more uncertainties than males regarding leg room
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Opinions on leg room accommodation, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Genders uncertain regarding vehicle comfort for heavyset people
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Opinions on heavyset accommodation, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Males willing to spend extra for more cargo, storage space
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Opinions on future storage purchasing decisions, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Opinions—age
                                                                                                                                                          • Younger generations willing to open wallets for additional storage
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Opinions on future storage purchasing decisions, by age, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Fuel economy trumps storage space as priority for all age groups
                                                                                                                                                              • Opinions—income
                                                                                                                                                                • High-income households willing to pay more for additional cargo room
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Opinions on future storage purchasing decisions, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                • Majority of household incomes unwilling to trade fuel economy for storage
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Opinions on future storage purchasing decisions, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                              • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Asians, Hispanics more likely to purchase storage components
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Storage needs based on purchased or rented storage components, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Ownership of vehicle types largely consistent for all races
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Vehicle ownership, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Leg, head, and hip room important to all ethnicities
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Satisfaction regarding head, hip and leg room in vehicles, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Asians prefer on-the-go storage features
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: important storage features, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Asians, Hispanics more frequently transport bulky cargo
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Cargo type transported most in vehicle, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        • Asians, blacks engage in most in-vehicle activities
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Common activities in vehicles, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                            • Cargoers
                                                                                                                                                                              • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Light Travelers
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Handies
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Thinking about the vehicle you drive the most often, please rate each of the following features, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Now, please tell us whether each of the following is important to you, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Thinking about when you bought your last vehicle (the one you drive most often), please tell us which of the following storage features were important to you, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Other than passengers, what cargo do you transport the most in the vehicle you drive the most often, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: What activities take place in the vehicle you drive the most often? Please answer for both yourself and other passengers in your vehicle, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Please say if you agree or disagree with the following statements, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: What items have you purchased or rented to create more storage compartments or cargo room for the vehicle you drive the most often, by room to move clusters, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Room to move clusters, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Room to move clusters, by age group, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Room to move clusters, by income group, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Room to move clusters, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Room to move clusters, by Hispanic origin, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Satisfaction regarding leg room in vehicles, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Satisfaction regarding head room in vehicles, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Satisfaction regarding head room in vehicles, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Satisfaction regarding hip room in vehicles, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Satisfaction regarding hip room in vehicles, by race, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Storage needs based on purchased or rented storage components, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Vehicle ownership, by gender, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Satisfaction regarding head, hip and leg room in vehicles, by age, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Common activities in vehicles, by household income, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                • American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • BMW of North America, LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hyundai Motor America
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jaguar Cars North America
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kia Motors America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mazda North American Operations
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mercedes-Benz USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nissan North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Subaru of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Department of Transportation
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Volkswagen of America, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The Spatial Needs of Car Buyers - US - May 2009

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