Most people looking for a new car place more importance on the price than on its size, colour or in-car entertainment, according to research.
A survey by Auto Trader magazine found that brand image and performance are now considered relatively insignificant factors compared with cost.
A poll of 1,000 UK motorists also showed that 20% are planning to change their car for a smaller, more fuel-efficient model, with nearly a third of these intending to make a purchase within the next three months.
As many as 71% said price was the most important factor, followed by fuel economy, running costs, fuel type and vehicle excise duty (VED) costs. The least important were entertainment systems, colour, brand image, capacity/storage and performance.
The desire for better fuel economy headed the list of reasons for wanting a smaller car, followed by lower VED, cheaper running costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Auto Trader marketing director Matt Thompson said: "Motorists are no longer persuaded by brand reputation or performance, or even what the vehicle looks like, instead choosing to focus on the cost of ownership, particularly miles-per-gallon and road fund licence bands, which means that manufacturers and dealers need to start highlighting the running costs for each of their vehicles, rather than its wide choice of colours and specifications."
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