Majority of U.S. Consumers Would Consider Buying a Domestic Auto

A new study released by Consumer Reports found that nearly twice as many Americans are likely to consider a vehicle from Detroit’s Big Three over a European or Asian import for their next new car purchase.

Of the respondents polled in the survey, over 80% of respondents said they would likely consider buying a domestic auto while 47% said they would consider an Asian auto and 46% responded that they would consider buying a European model.

Although the study appears to be good news for Detroit, current buying habits among American consumers paint a different and far less rosy picture.

Through last month, sales of domestic autos accounted for only 43.9% of all U.S. new cars sales this year. Japanese and Korean automakers took a 48% market share and sales of European vehicles accounted for 7.5%.

The report shows that domestic automakers are missing opportunities to increase their sales according to Consumer Reports’ deputy editor of online operations, Jeff Bartlett.

He says, “People are interested in buying [American] but they have some concerns.”

One such concern uncovered in the report is the economic condition of domestic automakers. Among new car buyers polled, 58% cited GM’s overall economic condition as a sales deterrent. Ford Motor Company’s financial state was an issue for 42% of respondents and 43% saw Chrysler’s economic condition as a negative factor.

Some 47% expressed concerns over the quality of GM’s products and 43% indicated the same concerns over Chrysler vehicles. Only one in four respondents expressed concern over the quality of Ford’s products.

There is also evidence that two Detroit automakers are moving in the right direction.

Respondents were asked if they were more or less likely to consider buying a domestic auto today than they were one year ago. Seventeen percent said they were more likely to consider buying a Ford today than one year ago. For GM, the percentage was a somewhat modest 6%. However, the study showed a 25% decrease for Chrysler.

The study showed that, among consumers considering buying a new vehicle, fuel economy was the top concern. Forty-six percent of respondents cited gas mileages as one of the top three factors they will consider when making their buying decision. The next greatest concern is quality. Forty-two percent said that overall quality will be among their top three considerations. Thirty-nine percent cited safety as a top concern while only 36% included price as a primary consideration in their buying decision.

The survey included responses made during telephone interviews of 1,777 participants between July 20 and August 3.

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