In fact, the second most crucial aspect in the purchase of a vehicle is its fuel consumption in more than half of the respondents (59%), which is also linked directly to the effect on the wallet. And even the design, with the same percentage, also appears far above the emissions level (51%), surpassing an element as relevant as the active and passive safety systems that emerge as the fourth deciding factor with 47%.
Table 1. What do you value most when it comes to buying a car?
Source: Report “Spaniards facing the New Mobility: vehicle purchasing perceptions and habits”
Manipulation of emissions, problem?
The report also wanted to precisely push the opinion on how the recent news about the alteration of the diesel measurement systems in vehicles are ranking in public opinion and linked to emissions. Particularly, 42% of Spaniards recognize that this issue has affected them a lot, to the point of admitting that they have changed the benchmark brand. This fact especially affects women, who are more sensitive to this reality, since 53% of respondents appear very conditioned because of this when deciding between brands.
However, young people up to age 24 are the most indifferent to this question, since only one in four acknowledges being “very affected,” the opposite of the collective between 60 and 65 years, with a sense of ownership being the strongest, which is the one that has been most impacted by this information (48%).
Likewise, the ratio of citizens who show their conviction that these practices affect the sector generally is much greater, as expressed by 67%, although three out of ten have changed their opinion about diesel.
Anti-pollution measures: yes, restrictions: no
This theoretical awareness of citizens with environmental problems is a priority for 90% of them, and does not assume support for all the measures undertaken especially by the Administrations, specifically those that penalize the use of a car. And it’s because this means of transportation remains essential for many Spaniards who do not want to give it up to meet their mobility needs.
Thus, according to the study, in cities with more than one million inhabitants it is preferred by 67%, while in populations with less than 20,000 inhabitants that percentage increases to 78%. And in terms of frequency of use, practically one in two respondents (49%) declare that they use it daily for their travel, although it is true that 30% acknowledge using it “above what is recommended.”
Therefore, Spaniards do not want to penalize driving and therefore enjoy cars at their convenience. Thus, the approach of the Public Administrations of a hypothetical future prohibition or restriction of the use of diesel vehicles in the cities is, according to the study, the measure with which fewer respondents are agreeing less with the parking restriction, both with a score of 3.33 out of 9.
On the other hand, those that are most supported are the ones associated with the need of improving public transportation (7.47 out of 9) as well as promoting travel by foot (6.12), by bike (5.87) or the incentive to purchase environmentally friendly vehicles (5,43), that is, those that add up, that don’t subtract.
There is also room for other measures. Thus, the announcement by the DGT (Department of Traffic) to classify cars for energy efficiency is widely accepted by the respondents, since 87% consider it a positive measure, a percentage that even rises to 92% in the case of women participants in the study.
Interest for the ‘eco-friendly’ car takes off, not yet for the “connected” car
At the same time, the abovementioned administrative measures have a certain effect on purchasers of alternative propulsion vehicles, about 24% say that they would decide to purchase a car of this type if these measures were implemented and extended. Nevertheless, electric and hybrid cars continue to suffer at the brakes of their excessive price and the lack of charging stations, and it’s because the industry is ahead of the actual driver.
The same is true of connectivity, which does not seem to be catching on among Spaniards when it comes to assessing the purchase of a vehicle, since only 12.6% of those consulted consider it relevant, despite the constant developments in this area. At least there is a greater predisposition in young people up to age 24, as one in four does value it, which is not in vain as they are people educated or born in the digital age.
According to Shara Martín, general manager of PONS Seguridad Vial, “being that 30% of respondents consider that they use the private vehicle more than they should be is an opportunity for improvement for public entities and manufacturers concerned about the harmful effects of driving a private vehicle. We must all be able to convey the advantages of betting on responsible mobility, especially to young people, in the light of what was collected in the study.”
In the words of Juan Hernández Luike, from Autofácil, “it is up to industry, and the administrations, to promote and develop alternative vehicles and to educate in connectivity. Both of those need to take the initiative and will find a good response from drivers, but at the moment, as the report concludes, when buying a car you ask about the price and how much it consumes, not the emissions, and there is more interest in aesthetics and safety.”
For Gerardo Cabañas, general manager of AutoScout24, “two out of three car buyers decide based on the emotional aspect or the wallet. Emotion and money are two great drivers of buying. Citizens are aware of the environment, but they want a car that meets their desires or mobility needs and the best value for their money possible.”