Category Archives: Industry

Digital radio still seen as the next big step for in-car technology

British drivers think hands-free driving will be the next big technological leap in motoring, research by Auto Trader and Digital Radio UK reveals.

The research looks at digital innovation in cars and reveals that UK motorists want technology to take some of the hassle out of driving. With 40% thinking self-park buttons are the next big thing and 35% believing voice commands are the future of motoring. However, despite the desire for hands-free driving, the top in-car innovation demanded by motorists is something that is already a part of life for some drivers – digital radio.

41% believe that DAB radios are the next leap forward for in-car technology, despite the fact that 15% of British drivers already have digital radios in their cars.

Nick King, Market Research Director at Auto Trader, says: “Digital technology has transformed the way consumers see the world over the past decade and motorists are no different. They have seen how voice recognition has changed phones and how apps have made previously complex things solvable at the press of a button. They now want motoring to be made as easy as possible by putting these features in cars. As we have seen in many other industries, the companies who respond and adapt best to changing consumer need will benefit most in the years to come.”

Although the Government has indicated the digital radio switch-over might take place in the next couple of years, misplaced concerns about the price of installing a digital radio may well be putting people off getting one installed. In-car digital radios can be picked up for around £70 and installation is available for as little as £30 but the motorists we surveyed believed on average it would cost them £202 – more than double the actual cost.

The concerns over price come at the same time as the vast majority (71%) of motorists believe having a DAB radio installed will add value to the price of their car. Nick King continues: “At the moment motorists have conflicting views on digital radio. Despite the fact it is already here they think it will be the next great innovation and despite believing it will be an investment and add value to their car, they hugely over-estimate the costs involved in getting one. When/if the date of the digital switch-over is confirmed more people will have DABs fitted to their cars as potential buyers will demand it.”

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Car running costs more of a worry than paying rent or job security

63% of drivers said running a car is their main financial concern in the current economic climate – above paying rent, a mortgage, or job security. 

As part of the brand new “Auto Trader Owners’ Guide” we asked motorists’ about their buying and selling behaviour and how the economy has impacted on their car purchases.

Over half (55%) of the drivers we asked have less disposable income now than they did at the beginning of this year, so cheaper running costs are now more important than ever. 53% said they were looking for a vehicle that is cheaper to run despite the cost of fuel declining slightly during May and June of this year [i] – filling up the tank remains the primary concern for 82% of motorists, followed by insurance fees (67%).

The recession has also meant that people are holding on to their cars for longer and less new car registrations were made in 2009 – 2011. As a result the number of vehicles aged over ten years old in the used car market has risen and so the average price of a second hand vehicle has fallen by 5% to £8,620 – the lowest since Auto Trader began tracking used car prices in January 2010.

Demand for nearly new vehicles is still on the rise so the price of younger vehicles has increased – vehicles under one year old are now fetching 3% more quarter-on-quarter. The most popular vehicles to buy are more economical and affordable small cars. Amongst motorists that have purchased a car in the past three months, small family cars like the Volkswagen Golf and supermini models such as the Ford Fiesta are most commonly sought after.

32% of new car owners said they chose their car in order to save money on fuel, tax or insurance, compared with 24% of used car owners. With new motors and fuel-efficient technology generally offering more miles to the gallon, new car registrations rose for the fourth successive month by 3.5% in June 2012 – driven by demand from private buyers, who bought 9.8% more cars in June 2012 year-on-year [ii].

Tim Peake, Group Strategy Director at Auto Trader, explains:  “With the average cost of used vehicles declining, it’s easy to make the assumption that now is a good time to buy a used car. However, this average drop in price has been caused by an abundance of older vehicles aged ten years plus in the market, and younger second-hand vehicles are scarce. Therefore, now is also a good time to invest in a new vehicle. Not only will you benefit financially from a more economical motor, but as younger models are in high demand, your car may have a greater chance of holding its value into the future.”

Download the full report for free here.


[i] Based on the The AA Fuel Price Report, May – June 2012
[ii] According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) June 2012 New Car Registration figures

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Brits loyal to home grown motors

In advance of the imminent Jubilee celebrations, it appears that Brits are just as patriotic about their cars as Queen Elizabeth II herself.

New research from Auto Trader, reveals that despite the country being in the heart of a double-dip recession, over two thirds (68%) of drivers intend to buy a car in the next six months – and of these, 58% plan to buy British.

Britain’s strong heritage in motoring and car manufacturing is recognised by over two thirds (69%) of drivers, and whilst the majority of British car manufacturers are now owned by overseas companies, we are still loyal to historically British car brands and vehicles made on our own turf.

Almost a third (29%) of drivers own a British-made car[i], and national pride is a major deciding factor for those who plan to make their next purchase a British motor. Half (50%) would do so to bolster the economy, with more than a third (35%) citing supporting our country’s heritage as their motivation for buying British. And our nation’s car brands are also appealing in their own right – over a third (34%) consider British motors to be stylish.

The findings also revealed that the Jaguar E-type, no stranger to the top spot of car lists, was voted the most iconic British model, followed by the Mini Cooper (21%), Aston Martin DB5 (12%) and Rolls Royce Phantom (9%).

Top 10 most iconic British cars:
1. Jaguar E-type
2. Mini Cooper
3. Aston Martin DB5
4. Rolls Royce Phantom
5. Aston Martin Vantage V8
6. Land Rover Defender
=7/8. Morris Minor
=7/8. McLaren F1
9. Bentley 4 ½ Litre
10. Austin Allegro

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And when it comes to the most iconic brands this country has produced, luxury marques are the most popular, with Rolls Royce (27%) – one of the Royal Family’s favoured manufacturers – topping the list followed by Aston Martin (23%) and Jaguar (16%).

The purchasing loyalty that Brits have towards our own motors also extends to other goods of British origin. Over four in ten (44%) intend to buy British groceries in the next six months and almost a third (30%) will spend on clothing made on British soil.

Jon Quirk, Auto Trader’s Editor-in-Chief, said:

“There’s definitely a sense of national pride in the air at the moment as people all around the country are gearing up for the Jubilee celebrations, and it’s great to see this patriotism reflected when it comes to our car-buying decisions. We should be proud of our country’s motoring heritage and it’s not surprising that Brits are still loyal to home-grown brands – we’ve produced some of the most iconic and head-turning motors for decades.”

[i] Defined as a brand originating from Britain, or a British brand still manufactured in some part in this country.

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Vince Cable: No more bailouts for the car industry

Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned the new Government will rein in financial support for the British motor industry.

Speaking at a conference in London arranged by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), he said, “Our starting point is very clear. We’ve moved on from the era of subsidies. We just have to be realistic about what’s affordable.” Continue reading

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