Purchasers of everything from electronics to clothing have shown time and time again that reviews play a huge part in buying decisions. This makes a new survey from J.D. Power and Associates that found reviews play a smaller role in vehicle purchasing than reputation especially surprising to some.
Why some brands are avoided
Released today, the J.D. Power and Associates survey asked 24,045 owners who registered a new vehicle in May of 2011 questions about their vehicle choice. Of those owners, 43 percent said that they avoided a particular vehicle brand because the brand’s offerings “in general, are known poor quality/reliability.” Only 38 percent of vehicle buyers chose to avoid a brand on the basis of ratings and reviews, and only 14 percent based their decision on the fact they had owned a vehicle of that brand in the past. The remaining 5 percent either did not answer or had not recalled avoiding any particular brand during their purchasing process. Additionally, 14 percent of car purchasers avoided purchasing import vehicles because they were produced out of the country, while 6 percent avoided purchasing domestic models.
Why brands are purchased
The biggest factors in choosing a particular vehicle model, on the other hand, have more to do with the economics of a vehicle than the reputation or reviews. Gas mileage was the most influential factor for vehicle buyers in 2012, winning out over reliability, price and styling. According to a 2011 study also by J.D. Power and Associates, test drives are one of the most influential factors in a vehicle buying decision, though reviews, ratings and recommendations from a variety of sources add up to more than 52 percent of the buying decision.
Putting these numbers in perspective
Taken together, these studies add up to an somewhat contradictory view of the vehicle-buying decision. People trust ratings and reviews from sources that they already trust, but only if the vehicle maker already has a good general reputation. Vehicle buyers are also much more likely to consider the gas mileage, maintenance, and “feel” of a car than they are to consider the nationality of the car maker.