Thursday, February 7, 2008

Purchasing a vehicle: price, fuel consumption and style before the environment

In a chronicle published January 26, 2008 (French only), I reported the results of a mini-survey concerning the criteria deemed to be the most important when purchasing or leasing a vehicle. Clicking here will allow you to see a graph showing the number of responses received for the five assertions I considered the most important, having been chosen either by a majority, or by a minority of people who participated in the study.

Highlights are as follows. Three elements are considered among the most important by at least half of respondents [answers/total]: price (purchase) or monthly payment (lease) [29/32], fuel consumption [27/32] and vehicle aestheticism (style and color) [17/32]. Conversely, an item is considered important by only a small number of respondents: an ecological engine [3/32].

Now, The Globe and Mail recently published a survey involving 38,500 Canadians that the importance of 26 criteria involved in purchasing or leasing a vehicle. Clicking here will allow you to see the results of this study.

The five criteria deemed to be the most important are the following (% responses): Value for the money (30.7%), Fuel economy (28.4%), Reliability/dependability (27.5%), Price/cost to buy (21.5%) and Exterior styling (19.5%). Environmental friendliness is relegated to the 23rd rank, out of 26, with a meagre proportion of votes (2.2%).

In my January 26, 2008 chronicle (French only), I wrote that “an exploratory study is indicative of trends that need to be confirmed by other studies or supported by known facts”. The fact that three elements identified in my mini-survey are amongst the top five in the national poll shows the usefulness of exploratory studies. Without featuring the accuracy or statistical reliability of studies involving a large number of respondents (≥ 1000) selected through probability sampling, they are nevertheless indicative of major trends.

As for the fact that environmental considerations as a criteria for purchasing a vehicle only concern a very small minority of people in both studies, it strengthens the view that I supported in several columns of this blog, particularly that of June 7, 2007. I am more than ever sceptical about the willingness of Quebecers, and citizens of other Canadian provinces, to radically change their lifestyle to reduce polluting emissions.