Price more important than recalls

Jake GammonHead of Omnibus, US
July 14, 2014, 2:48 PM UTC

GM has issued 45 recalls so far this year (as of the end of June), involving over 24.6 million cars in the United States.  Despite the continuous stream of recalls and negative press, GM has confounded expectations, releasing surprisingly healthy sales figures.

Price is trumping safety record when it comes to choosing the next car.

When asked which factors were important to them when choosing a new or pre-owned car, car owners and leasers put the safety record of a particular make of car behind price, fuel efficiency, and mileage as their most important consideration.  

Price is the key driver for 96% of car owners and leasers with 75% considering it a very important.

What are the most important factors when choosing a new or pre-owned car?

Although the safety record of the brand is of some consideration to the majority of Americans (89%), only 59% believe it is very important. Women appear to be more concerned about the brand safety record than men, with 64% of women drivers finding it very important compared to 43% of men.

The factors, which seem to have a secondary impact on choice, are luxury features (52%), brand loyalty (51%) and “the image it projects of me” (34%).  Millennials are far more likely to be conscious of image, with over half (54%) admitting it was important and one quarter (25%) thinking it a very important factor – higher than both older age groups and higher income families.  Millennials (55%) are also more likely than Baby Boomers (50%) to be swayed by luxury features.

Despite the many recalls Americans seem to have short recall memories. Only 35% of Americans had heard of safety concerns for Chevrolet in the last three months and 18% for Toyota. GM has made multiple recalls for Chevrolet and other GM marks in the last few months, Toyota recalled over 800,000 vehicles in June, and over two million back in April. 

Which of the following car makes have you heard safety concerns about in the past 3 months?

Although it doesn’t seem to be impacting sales, the recalls may be having an impact on perception. Toyota and Chevrolet owners don’t give their cars the highest marks for safety.  28% of Chevrolet drivers gave their cars the highest rating for safety compared to 23% of Toyota drivers.  Honda and Nissan rated rather higher with 35% of Honda drivers and 36% of Nissan drivers awarding their cars a 10 out of 10 for safety.  30% of Ford owners gave their car the highest ranking.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and omnibus services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com.

Find the full results here.

Image courtesy of Getty