Britain the sensible


Couple in showroom

WHEN it comes to buying new cars, we Brits are turning into a pretty sensible bunch.

According to a new survey most people diligently researched cars before picking one.

However, it also found that some were swayed by emotional factors including hearts overruling heads, wanting cars as status symbols, and a car's colour affecting purchasing decisions.

Overall, an impressive 71 per cent, of the 2,000 UK drivers surveyed, do careful research before buying a new or second-hand car including checking its fuel efficiency, safety and general reliability record. This figure is the same for men and women and across all age groups.

The research, commissioned by, a leading supplier of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance for new and second-hand cars, reveals that despite two-fifths (42 per cent) saying that they do not care how their car looks as long as it gets them from A to B, the same proportion admit that the colour is very important and that they would not buy a car if they do not like the colour.

Men and women both feel strongly about the colour - 40 per cent men, 44 per cent women.

As well as being affected by the colour, the survey reveals that one in five say they would spend more on a car they loved than they could actually afford, rising to one in three under 35 year olds. Older age groups are more hard-headed with one in four 35 - 54 year olds (26 per cent) saying this and only 14 per cent of over 55s.

Another emotional factor that comes out strongly is that being seen with a nice car is a symbol of status.Over a quarter (27 per cent) of drivers agree that having a nice car is a symbol of status, with the North East (36 per cent) and London (32 percent) coming out as the most car-status oriented regions, with the South West (20 per cent) and the East of England (24 per cent) polling the lowest.

"We know people love their cars. Over 80% of people told us this," said Ben Wooltorton, chief operating officer of "So it's no surprise that when it comes to buying a new car, which is probably the second biggest purchase for most people in their lives after property, there's a battle between a sensible, well thought-through decision and that mad rush of adrenalin when the head just gets overruled.

"We need to remember that for many a car is not just a set of wheels but an integral part of their life giving them potentially years of use, so it's easy to see how emotions play such a prominent role in the purchase."


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