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In brand terms, there have been two big, inter-connected stories over the last 20 years.

The first story is about the near disappearance of Britain's leading mass car brand, Rover, and the parallel rise of the European and Japanese brands.

The second is about premium brands becoming more affordable and accessible to mass market customers who would previously have seen such brands as beyond their reach.

What we aspire to, 1988 vs 2008

Motorists were asked to choose the car they aspired to drive 20 years ago and the make of car they aspire to drive today.

Top 3 cars we aspired to in 1988:

  • Ford Capri
  • Jaguar XJS
  • BMW 3 Series

Top 3 brands we aspire to in 2008:

  • BMW
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Audi

The last 5 or so years have seen the rise of a new brand category in the car market - 'mass premium', led by Mercedes, BMW and, most recently, Audi.

We only need to look at the top 3 brands we aspire to today, to see the extent to which these now dominate what we want to drive.

Types of cars

What we look for in our cars