Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 12

EMOTIVE needs such as potency, prestige and status drive over 50 per cent of the car purchases in India, a study has found.

The 2004 four-wheeler brand health and need segmentation study by leading market information provider, TNS, has further found that the major emotive drivers for car purchase remain similar across different vehicle segments.

Representing the responses of more than 2,000 car buyers providing over 8,000 evaluations, the study conducted by TNS specialist division, TNS Automotive, is a "first of its kind" initiative to understand the hidden motivations behind car purchase and customer perceptions of all available brands in India.

The study finds that potency buyers (who are motivated by a need to attract opposite sex and feel powerful) form the largest category with 20.4 per cent of those surveyed falling in this category.

"Contrary to the belief that prestige and status needs are pre-dominantly among the buyers of higher-end vehicles, the study clearly reveals that needs exist across vehicle segments,'' said Mr Rajeev Lochan, General Manager (Asia Pacific) of TNS Automotive.

"While prestige and potency related needs are the key motivators for entry luxury buyers, these needs exist across segments, including the cheaper small cars,'' he added.

Utility buyers (who seek a need for basic transportation and care for family) at 18.9 per cent and prestige buyers (motivated by a need for prestige, indulge self, and exclusivity) at 18.1 per cent form the second and third largest chunk of customers.

Interestingly, buyers seeking the latest technology from their vehicles form only 8.2 per cent, the study finds.

"It is apparent from the need segment drivers that a majority of motives are about what a consumer desires to communicate to the outside world based on the car he/she uses,'' comments Mr Lochan.

"Therefore, it is vital to understand these underlying drivers for consumer behaviour and position brands accordingly, instead of solely focusing on rational elements of purchase such as fuel economy and engine power.''

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 13, 2005)
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