We’re a bit Weird! The Myths, Quirks and Proclivities of British Motorists

A couple of new surveys out recently highlight the unique buying trends and preferences of British motorists as well as highlighting which cars and driving habits make us the most attractive to the others!

It turns out that ‘miserly Scots’ are the biggest spenders, older women are the most important new car buyers, and over half of us still buy cars outright. Meanwhile the sexiest drivers are those with clean Audis that can parallel park.

Scots are not Scrooges!

A survey of 7000 new car buyers and 9000 used car owners by Autovia, the publishers of some of the UK’s biggest motoring titles including Auto Express, Evo, Octane and Car Buyer, reveals that Scots are more likely to buy new cars than those in England and Wales. So next time you make a joke about Scottish people being Scrooges, just watch them get into their spanking new 22-plate car and drive off in a huff.

Additionally, retired people are the most likely to buy new cars, while women aged 56 and over form the biggest segment of new car buying customers. And manufacturers and dealers should beware, because this influential segment is crucial to their business as women are most likely to remain loyal to the dealer they’ve originally bought a car from.

What about used cars? Wales is proportionately the biggest buyer of second-hand motors. Despite all the pressures on motorists, we haven’t quite fallen out of love with the car either, as across the country more than one in ten customers (11%) over the past two years bought an additional vehicle and not replaced an existing car. Which explains why in a country of 67 million people, there are actually over 32 million registered vehicles – a relatively high proportion.

Online Buyers are Trusting and Loyal

A phenomenon that has accelerated recently, spurred on by an increase of internet purchases during the pandemic, is buying cars online. Those buying online are more likely to recommend the supplier than those buying from a dealer, and it seems that’s partly due to the involvement of inept sales staff, because 11 percent see no need to speak to a real person at any point in the purchasing process – which appears to put a lot of faith in online transactions.

The research also reveals that over half of us (55 percent) still purchase cars outright with savings or their own bank loan, rather than using dealer finance or leasing plans. Additionally, 13 percent are happy to buy a car without trying it, and actually turned down the offer of a test drive.

Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Autovia, said: “What’s fascinating about this latest data is the picture it paints of Britain's relationship with the car. For example, retired people are often relatively affluent after building investments and savings, so it is perhaps no surprise that they are most likely to go straight for the undeniable satisfaction of buying a brand-new car. And it seems that the Welsh preference for used cars probably reflects the country's relatively lower level of affluence than Scotland and England.”

Sexiest Driving Moves

If you want to look attractive to others, pull off the perfect parallel parking manoeuvre! Because that’s considered the most attractive driving technique by 60 percent of Brits, according to Moneybarn Vehicle Finance. They surveyed 2000 people about driving, car ownership habits and even automotive brands.

Admittedly parallel parking in a tight spot is difficult, and motorists often concede defeat and proceed with the drive of shame as they give up and go in search of an alternative spot. Pull it off in one sweeping move though, and you’re a superstar – especially with those in 45-54 age bracket.

A distant second in the most attractive driving moves, was the three-point turn (19 percent) followed by reverse parking at 15 percent, with extra points for reversing while looking over your shoulder with one arm on the backrest of the passenger seat – particularly popular with younger people! By the way, the least attractive manoeuvre to women? Overtaking another car. So just stay in lane.

People Love a Clean Car

Nearly half (47.41 percent) of people believe keeping your car clean is the most attractive feature in a car owner. This went up to 49.6 percent for women, and was especially true of younger people (25-34 year-olds). Presumably because it suggests that if someone is so scrupulous when it comes to their car, they would apply the same attentiveness to a partner.

While driving fast was considered sexy in a previous era, the appeal of speeders has diminished significantly, as only 7.74 percent found it attractive in the latest survey (though that increased to 9.5 percent for men). Revving the engine and beeping the horn were considered even less attractive.

Driving cautiously engendered the most appeal with 37.31 percent citing it the most attractive driving habit. Feeling safe, secure and confident in the skills of the driver clearly encourages attraction. This was particularly the case with passengers in 55-64 age range.

The most attractive car brands or not

German’s rule when it comes to the hottest car brands (particularly with women), with Audi coming out top with 15.58 percent. Curiously the next highest percentage number related to people that really didn’t care about the make of a car, with nearly 10 percent claiming it had no influence on a person’s attractiveness.

Back on track though and BMW was next at 9.17 percent, followed by Ford and Mercedes. The first supercar maker (traditionally thought of as a highly potent), Ferrari, was over half way down the list of top ten which was rounded off by Jaguar, Mini and Skoda.

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