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Fuel will continue to drive future car buying decisions

Fuel will move from second place consideration when car buyers bought their current car to top slot when buying their next car, according to latest research from CitNOW and published in its Evolution of the Car-Buyer 2019 report.


A car’s driveability was the most important factor when survey respondents bought their current vehicle but will move to second place when it comes to future purchases with 42.2% of those surveyed saying they will still consider it their main priority.

Car buyers’ most pressing concern for their next car is fuel type with 43.1% listing it first compared to 39% of those when they purchased their current model, making it the second highest consideration for customers when they bought the vehicle they are driving at the moment.

Running costs and environmental reasons take third place for tomorrow’s car buyers, attributes that see a significant increase in importance (voted at 31.5% – up 8.1% from 23.4% when respondents purchased their current car).

Whilst the shift may not be dramatic, it reflects policy influences such as the UK government announcing a sales ban on pure petrol and diesel combustion vehicles from 2040.

The findings also reflect wider trends in the sector as car buyers increasingly turn their backs on diesel. Latest figures show diesel sales fell by 18.4% YTD with a market share of 27.7%. The largest segment for diesels, the C-segment or small family cars accounts for 42.7% of all diesels sold but saw a 16.3% fall in diesel sales. The diesel dominated premium SUV sector has seen the fuel’s proportion fall from 69.8% to 57.4% YTD. It is predicted that the only significant segment with diesel as the majority fuel next year will be executive vehicles.

Against a backdrop of declining registrations generally, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed diesel registrations were down 18.3% in May, the 26th successive month the fuel type has experienced a decline. Overall, new car registrations fell a further 4.6% in May, bringing the UK’s total sales YTD down 3.1%.

Obviously, dealers are already mindful of the way the market is moving, but diesel cars are simply not going to disappear from our roads overnight or even in a decade or two’s time. There will still be a market for diesel and video can help consumers overcome misconceptions.

Explaining the cleanliness of particular diesel vehicles using video will help debunk some of the myths especially as some Euro 6 diesels are almost as clean as petrol engines. Meanwhile, used car listings should highlight the fuel economy of a particular model along with any other more environmentally friendly characteristics.

Perhaps a video interview with the business’ corporate sales manager dispelling some of the myths surrounding diesel will help allay fears. Explainer videos could also prove helpful educating consumers on AdBlue technology and diesel particulate filters (DPF), designed to filter out air polluting soot particulates and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. Meanwhile, high mileage motorway drivers are still likely to be better off behind the wheel of a diesel.

Sales of used diesels remain strong according to online remarketers Autorola which suggests many consumers are not being swayed by headlines in the popular press. Even amid Brexit uncertainty, Auto Trader’s price index for May showed prices for diesel vehicles had grown 0.4% compared to petrol which saw prices gain 1%. With major consumer motoring titles such as Car Magazine and Auto Express telling consumers diesel is far from dead and drawing attention to Euro 6 and even more stringent Euro 7 engines, retailers should not be afraid to extol the virtues of diesel, particularly in the used market with video providing a strong medium for such a message.

You can download the full Evolution of the Car Buyer report here.