US Insights

Americans buy more cars than ever but still look average

Elizabeth Wilner

US Editor

Retail 01.06.2016 / 14:35

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Globally, Ford fills the void in countries lacking domestic brands

The US auto industry looms so large at home in culture and marketing - it has dominated domestic ad spending for decades at #1 through 2011 and #2, behind retail, since - that it can be hard to imagine a world in which it is less prevalent. Particularly as it comes off a record-setting year of 17.47 million vehicles purchased in 2015, with some experts projecting a second straight record-setting year in 2016.

Key Numbers

  • 29% of US adults plan to buy a new car in the next 2 years

But when it comes to actually purchasing a car, a global study of trends in ownership and purchase drivers shows Americans aren't that different from consumers in any other country, including the United Kingdom, which barely has an auto industry.

When it comes to the reasons driving the choice of a particular car, for example, price is the top reason not just in the US but in countries ranging from Russia, South Africa, Germany and Spain to the UK. Reliability and fuel consumption are the second and third biggest drivers in the US, according to the study by Kantar Media TGI. In both China and France, on the other hand, safety is a top factor in consumers' choice of cars.

Also as in the US, other countries with their own internationally renowned car brands see those brands dominate their own markets. The top US brands are Ford and Chevrolet, whereas the top French brands are also domestic. In Germany, home brands Volkswagen and Opel rank first and second, followed by Ford. Ford is also first in the auto industry-less UK.

Practically no consumer purchase is bigger than buying a car, so keeping tabs on the size of the consumer base and the factors driving their decisions are critical for gaining competitive edge. In the US, 29% of adults age 18 and older intend to buy a new car in the next two years-just lower than in France and Australia at 33%, and just above the UK and South Africa at 31%. The vast majority-81%-of US adults age 18 and older own a driver's license, on par with Germany and just lower than France at 84%.

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

To read the study, click here or download the report by clicking on the PDF above. Journalists, to speak with a TGI expert, or for inquiries, contact us. Follow @Kantar and sign up for our insight alerts.

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