Car brands must rev up emotional appeal

Automotive brands must emphasise the emotional value of their brand to differentiate from the competition and encourage sales as the number of consumers looking to buy a car declines, according to a study.


More that half (56%) of car buyers make their choice based on emotional factors relating to a brand rather than rational factors such as price, despite the tough economic environment, according to the Car Buyer Brand Perceptions Study by Trend Tracker.

It identified that motor brands such as Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Renault “suffer from perceptions of weak or unattractive styling” and therefore rely on price and value to appeal to consumers.

The report warns to halt any decline in market share they must “embrace stronger emotionally appealing design” to deliver greater brand satisfaction and loyalty for consumers and lift margins.

It also found that less than 50% of motorists plan to buy the same brand car the next time they buy, demonstrating that car manufacturers must look to increase brand loyalty. BMW, Audi and Ford have the greatest loyalty, the report claims.

The number of motorists planning to buy a new car in the next three to five years has fallen to one in five (21%), down from 32% in May 2010, following the increase in VAT to 20% in January and weak consumer confidence.

The report, carried out by Lake Research, is based on Consumer Involvement Theory analysis, which measures emotional versus rational decision making in car purchasing. The qualitative study surveyed 12,000 motorists.

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