Canadians seek image in car purchases

Kijiji study reveals car buying habits

October 7, 2013
by CAR staff

TORONTO, ON—Canadians have more on their minds than fuel economy and cargo space when buying their cars. An international study of more than 10,000 drivers from 10 countries places more Canadian drivers in the category of “Image Seekers” than any of the report’s other driver personas, and above the global average in this category.

The report, done for online classifieds site Kijiji, categorizes Canadian and international drivers among seven different personas based on driver habits and opinions, as follows:

  • Image Seekers (27 percent) – brand, design and styling are more important than among other personas. Global average: 23 percent.
  • Reliability/Efficiency Seekers (22 percent) – brand is less of a priority, but reliability, efficiency, and running costs matter. Global average: 22 percent.
  • Performance Seekers (17 percent) – handling and power are higher up on the list of priorities.  Global average: 17 percent.
  • Necessity Drivers (19 percent) – say a car is just a tool to get from A to B. Global average: 17 percent.
  • Risk Takers (five per cent) – parks carelessly, more likely to drink and drive. Global average: 11 percent.
  • Cautious Drivers (five percent) – rarely has accidents or damages their car. Global average: four percent.
  • Accident Prone (five percent) – despite less obvious risk taking they are still prone to accidents. Global average: six percent.

“When it comes to Canadian drivers, Image Seekers have overtaken Efficiency Seekers, though many stereotypically modest Canadian traits continue on the road,” says Scott Neil, head of autos, Kijiji Canada.

While Image Seekers and Performance Seekers combined account for close to half (44 percent) of Canadian drivers, as a nation, we are still understated when it comes to the cars we covet. When asked to list their “dream vehicle”, Canadians gravitate to more modest luxury brands such as BMW (14 percent), Mercedes-Benz (11 percent), or Lexus (nine percent) versus supercars like Lamborghini (six percent), Ferrari (four percent), or Rolls-Royce (four percent).

Notwithstanding our tendency to value style slightly above substance, when it comes to colour, Canadians prefer classic, neutral tones over bright and bold. Sensible silver is the most popular car colour in Canada, preferred by 18 percent of drivers, followed by basics blue and black (15 percent each) and good old grey (14 percent).  Just 11 percent of us opt for racy red.

As a nation, Canadians also approach car buying pragmatically, with nine out of 10 (89 percent) acknowledging that a new car’s value depreciates when driven off the lot.

When it comes to new versus used vehicle purchases:

  • Five out of six Canadians (83 percent) have owned a used vehicle.
  • Sixty-three percent of Canadians would buy a used vehicle because they feel that new cars are too expensive.
  • Three out of 10 Canadians (29 percent) feel used vehicles are just as good as new ones, and new vehicles are not worth the extra money.
  • One in five Canadians (19 percent) would buy a used car in order to get their particular dream vehicle.

The Kijiji study also reveals that, once behind the wheel, Canadians are more careful and conscientious on the road compared to the global average:

  • Just five percent of Canadian drivers fall into the “Risk Takers” persona compared to 11 percent of drivers globally.
  • While 17 percent of Canadians report scraping or scratching their car in a minor accident over the last year, 21 percent globally say they’ve had a fender bender.
  • Ten percent of Canadian drivers admit to getting a speeding ticket over the last year compared to 16 percent of the global population surveyed.

The International Car Survey was conducted this year by Redshift Research among a sample of 10,054 drivers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the UK. From the Survey, 1,016 Canadian interviews were conducted. The margin of error for the Canadian sample is +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20.