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Taking AIMS: Sydney's Australian International Motor Show in October.

Research proves theory that motor shows have a big influence on new car buyers

10 Dec 2007

By JOHN MELLOR in SYDNEY

A LARGE number of people attending motor shows are genuine car buyers with the earning capacity to pay for a new car, a survey of the Australian International Motor Show this year has shown.

Roy Morgan Research questioned 850 people in the foyer over five days of the Sydney-based motor show before they went inside. They were sent a follow-up email which resulted in 276 completed surveys.

Those attending were mostly men (74 per cent) and a third were aged between 18 and 29 years. Nearly half (44 per cent) earned more than $70,000 a year compared with just 29 per cent of intending car buyers earning more than $70,000 a year.

One of the key findings was that 36 per cent were at the show to look at which car to buy next. This means that one in three people was a genuine prospect.

Another major finding was the ability of a motor show stand to change the public’s view of a brand.

The survey showed that people were both positively and negatively influenced about the brand as a result of a visit to the show and the time spent on a car-maker’s exhibit significantly affected their view of the brand.

European luxury brands did well in terms of time spent on their stands. Holden was second-best behind Mercedes-Benz and ahead of BMW, and was also ahead of the mainstream brands by a strong margin.

Honda and Subaru were the biggest overall winners in the survey in terms of improving the view of their brands. Honda did well in almost every question. Ford, on the other hand, suffered in most areas of the survey, particularly in terms of time spent on its stand.

On the environment, Toyota appeared to stumble. Patrons were asked before entering the show: which manufacturers make an effort to be environmentally friendly?Toyota came top with 55 per cent nominating it. But after the show Toyota fell to 40 per cent. The inference is that the Toyota stand did not match the perceptions Toyota has created in the general marketplace regarding its environmental credentials. However, Lexus improved.

Others to improve on the environmental question after people had been to the show were BMW, Volkswagen and Peugeot.

The survey, which cost $12,500, showed 45 per cent of people said they would pay more for a car that is better for the environment and two thirds said they would pay more for a car with better fuel economy.

Show-goers were also thirsty for knowledge about changing designs and there was a feeling that the motor show was not delivering enough in this area.

Respondents said they wanted to see more concept cars and cars showing future designs at next year’s motor show – especially cars relating to future fuels and empathy with the environment.

They also said they wanted to see more on technology on each stand, as well as interactive displays.

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