Available 24 hours a day, Mintel's global public relations team is pleased to provide accredited journalists with access to our research, arrange interviews with our expert analysts and share the latest insights across categories and countries.

Chicago (February 10, 2011) – Black or silver? Sedan or coupe? Compact or hatchback? Consumers have much to consider when they’re on the hunt for a new car. But, according to Mintel research, it’s a hassle-free sales environment that really gets shoppers’ motors running, as 27% of consumers who have bought a new vehicle in the past three years say they were influenced by the stress-free sales floor.

The test drive is by far the most powerful motivator of new vehicle purchase with 63% of respondents who got a new car in the last three years, though 37% were influenced by the dealer warranty. Meanwhile, 20% were swayed by the demeanor of the sales agent and 27% were wooed by the dealer trade-in amount.

” our findings suggest that consumers are looking for a tangible experience when they are browsing for a new car,”says Mark Guarino, senior analyst at Mintel. “These big-ticket purchases are always going to be influenced by financial aspects, but consumers still value service and don’t want to be pressured by a pushy or overbearing salesperson. “

Who – not what

Many factors at the dealership can influence a vehicle purchase, but there are also factors outside the showroom, as consumers often seek a second opinion from a friend or family member. Fifty-eight percent of individuals who purchased a car in the last three years say their spouse or partner helped them make the decision. Another 9% say they consulted their parents while 27% say they made the decision on their own.

“Most often, car buyers don’t operate alone,” adds Mark Guarino. “Spouses or loved ones are not only a trusted source of information, there is also the practical aspect too: the spouse or partner may likely also be driving the vehicle – and in some cases helping pay – so they have a say in which one their significant other purchases. “