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by Matt Brogan

A UK survey, conducted by Glass’s, has found that new-car buyers are faced with too much choice, and the growing number of diverse products offered by manufacturers is causing consumer confusion.

Many visitors to Glass’s valuation website have indicated that the choice on offer is too vast.  In response to a survey, 29 per cent said they found the number of models available to be “overwhelming”, with 26 per cent saying they were “confused” by the choice of products.

Moreover, 51 per cent of respondents were unable to test drive their model of choice when they visited the relevant showroom, indicating that dealer demonstrator fleets are not representative of what is being offered.  Of this group, just 27 per cent were offered an alternative vehicle which suited their requirements.

“During 2009 a total of 70 new model lines were introduced, and this followed the 58 launches of 2008,” comments Mr Jason King, Head of Market Intelligence at Glass’s.

“Many of the debuts came in burgeoning niche segments, rather than the traditional categories.  So-called crossovers and a growing number of cars with alternative powertrains – such as hybrid petrol-electric vehicles – have changed the face of the market.  Not surprisingly, some consumers struggle when it comes to selecting the right car for their needs.

“In 2010 a further 40 model lines will be launched, which is a significant drop compared to the trend of recent years, leading to a lower number of vehicle ranges being available.  But customers will still be faced with a perplexing choice, as manufacturers continue to tap into recently-created, successful sub-segments.”

New models such as the Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qazana will bring an even greater choice of crossovers – vehicles outside of the traditional market groups which promise added flexibility and appeal through innovative packaging.

“Offering the ‘best of both worlds’ in one car is not a new idea, and it is rare for crossovers to present something not already catered for by an existing model,” says Mr King.  “But the concept has proven successful, attracting conquest sales and thus adding registrations for carmakers.”

Consumers can also expect to see more vehicles with environmentally-friendly badging, like Ford’s ECOnetic models and the BlueMotion range from Volkswagen.

“To meet stringent EU emissions targets, manufacturers will soon have to include ‘green’ technology across the range, as BMW does with its Efficient Dynamics package,” said Mr King.

“In 2010 stop-start systems, turbocharging and hybrid powertrains will all feature more prominently on new cars.”

Furthermore, UK drivers are more than ever opting for smaller, more efficient models in an effort to reduce running costs and tax liabilities.

“Well-equipped newcomers, from the Audi A1 to the Chevrolet Spark, will feed the trend for downsizing, providing more choice for those seeking to save without sacrificing creature comforts,” Mr King concludes.

Let us know your thoughts, do you find the Australian market is too broad when it comes to selecting a new car? Or is there enough information available to make sense of it all? Leave a comment now.




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