Serj Heera
Press Relations Manager, Automotive
+44 (0) 115 976 8945 Tel Email

only a quarter of car owners would shun size and performance for fuel economy


Nottingham, UK, 09 March 2009 - The cost of running a car is an important factor for more than two thirds (67 per cent) of British car owners, according to a recent survey by Experian®, the global information services company.  However, only a quarter would look for a car that offered better fuel economy as their next purchase.


Although there is a greater choice of smaller, more economical cars coming onto the market, only 18 per cent of British car owners stated that they would go consider a vehicle with a smaller engine and 16 per cent would look for a smaller car altogether.


Kirk Fletcher, Managing Director of Experian’s Automotive division, said: “Concerns about running costs are certainly driving changes in the automotive industry and causing consumers to be more cautious about their spending.  However, even when living through a downturn, there is still a reluctance to downgrade. 


“It also means that most drivers feel they are already driving cars they can afford to run, so their preference would be to buy a similar type of car.  Some are still even planning to upgrade.


“Insight such like this is crucial for dealers when targeting potential new customers.  For example, by using services such as Experian’s Vehicle Owner Tracking service, dealers can check whether their current customers are still driving the cars they sold them and the amount of time that has passed since the sale and use this information to target them with offers on similar types of cars.”


Men vs women

A car’s size matters more to female car owners.  Men are more likely to downgrade in engine and car size (18 per cent compared to 15 per cent of women).  When asked whether they would go for a bigger car in their next purchase, 17 per cent of women (compared to 15 per cent of men) said that they would.


The generation factor

The likelihood of an upgrade in engine size generally decreases the older the car owner.  Car owners aged 18 to 24 are the most likely to consider an upgrade in engine size (33 per cent) compared to, for example on three per cent of 55 to 64 year olds.  The young are also more likely to go for a bigger car in their next purchase (38 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds).


Regional difference

Of the car owners that stated they would still consider a car with a bigger engine for their next purchase, those in Greater London were the most likely to do so (17 per cent).  For car owners in the East Midlands, performance over miles per gallon is more likely to factor in their decision making (14 per cent) followed by Greater London (12 per cent) and the West Midlands (12 per cent).


For further information on the range of services enabling dealers to assess the marketplace and their potential customers, reduce costs and manage risks, please call 0870 414 0310 or email




About the research

Based on an independent online survey conducted by Research Plus on behalf of Experian’ Automotive division.  A total of 1,008 British car owners aged 18 and over were surveyed during the period 21st to the 26th January 2009.