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Why Buyers Reject Some Automotive Brands

Styling, price, perceived reliability and health lead the list.

by on Dec.15, 2009

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Future of the brand is the fourth most cited reason for avoiding a particular model.

Nearly one in five new-vehicle buyers who avoid a particular vehicle model cite their concern over the future of the brand as a reason for avoidance, according to the latest J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Avoider Study released today.

The study has negative implications for General Motors Company and Chrysler Group brands as the reorganized companies try to put bankruptcy behind them and promote new cars and light trucks in what remains a gridlocked marketplace.

While the top three avoidance reasons in 2009—styling, price and perceived reliability—remain unchanged from 2008, concern over the future of the brand is the fourth-most-frequently mentioned reason for avoiding a particular model. Included in the study for the first time, this reason was mentioned by 18% of what Power terms avoiders.

The study, now in its seventh year, examines the reasons consumers fail to consider or avoid particular models when shopping for new vehicles.

Among brands that were avoided due to concerns over their future viability, the top five are domestic brands:

  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Hummer
  • Pontiac and Saturn

In the case of the latter two, consumers proved prescient.

At the time of the study this past summer, GM had announced that Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn would not be part of “New GM,” although buyers were being sought for the brands.

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Since then, only Hummer appears to have a chance of surviving, as Pontiac has already built its last car. A deal for the purchase of Saturn by the Penske Automotive group fell apart at the last moment when the Renault Board of Directors rejected a Carlos Ghosn-backed plan to supply Saturn with Korean-built vehicles.

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