Styling stops bulk of buyers
Good design, the argument goes, means understanding the needs of your users. That may well be for the everyday features and functionality demanded from today’s cars, crossovers, minivans and light trucks.
Good design, the argument goes, means understanding the needs of your users. That may well be for the everyday features and functionality demanded from today’s cars, crossovers, minivans and light trucks. Get it right and any manufacturer is sure to interest a sizeable chunk of its target market. But first it has to pass the styling test.
That’s where any vehicle lives or dies, depending on the vital first impression it makes with a potential buyer.
To drive home the point, consider the Pontiac Aztek and Honda’s Civic. The latter is Canada’s top-selling passenger car and has been for several years running.
The ugly duckling Aztek, however, struck no such responsive chord with consumers, despite sporting some useful functionality and innovative features, and soon disappeared from the automotive landscape.
When surveyed, consumers often rank things like reliability and fuel economy up front, with environmental factors gaining ground.
Well down the list comes styling. A position that implies it doesn’t play a major role in buying decisions.
Not so, according to a recent "Avoider" survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates that asked what factors caused buyers to avoid a specific vehicle.
Guess what? Emotion and that vital "first impression" can win you over or turn you off a car before there’s even a chance to sell you on its features and equipment.
The study found that across all vehicle segments, styling was the top reason buyers avoided considering some models, with 45 per cent of respondents citing the look/design of the model as a reason for avoidance.
Styling typically determines the buyer’s first impression and, if they dislike the lines, they generally will not pursue that model any further.
Reliability (23 per cent) and high cost (20 per cent), represent the other main reasons for avoidance.
Rounding out the top 10 reasons not to buy were: Resale value (16 per cent), poor quality (15 per cent), small size (14 per cent), poor mileage (12 per cent), poor comfort (11 per cent), lack of performance (10 per cent) and lack of options/ features (9 per cent).