16 Feb
Consumers are put off by unreliable cars.

Reliability emerges as most important feature of new cars

Buying a new vehicle is never easy, with the range of conditions including everything from fuel efficiency to the number of safety features included from the get-go. In fact, sometimes these influences stretch beyond the norm, with Roy Morgan Research revealing that last year's Mad Max: Fury Road was making people consider buying a new sports car. 

For the country's fuel card users, the influences and desires that inform their purchases are likely a little more restrained. With hybrids and electric vehicles dominating press coverage from the recent Detroit Auto Show, it seems as though consumer interest will be following suit. However, a recent survey confirmed that this isn't quite the case yet. 

So, how do people choose their new fleet vehicles?

Reliability trumps other concerns in new survey

A recent investigation from automotive research firm J.D Power found that consumer purchasing habits have taken a noticeable shift in the past 12 months. In this year's survey, respondents indicated that reliability concerns were one of the main reasons for avoiding specific cars or brands, the first time this has happened in almost 10 years. 

The majority of consumers (55 per cent) selected reliability as the defining factor in their new car purchases, indicating that, above all else, drivers demand vehicles that won't cost them the Earth in terms of repairs and other maintenance concerns. 

Vice president, Quality Practice Dave Sargent noted that continued news stories regarding recalls for automotive defects have a huge effect on brand image, and dictate purchasing trends accordingly. 

"Bad news can tarnish an automaker's reputation in an instant, yet, can take years to build back up," he began. "Automakers need to convince consumers of the true reliability of their vehicles so it is not a reason to avoid selecting a particular model."

How does fuel efficiency impact purchasing trends?

Fuel efficiency is no longer as important to new car purchasers.

Despite fluctuating fuel costs and a heightened focus on green vehicles from manufacturers, consumers aren't quite sharing the same enthusiasm at present. In fact, J.D Power's survey noted that fuel efficiency as a purchasing influence is at its lowest point in five years. 

Last year's results revealed that 55 per cent of car buyers considered fuel efficiency, a number that has dropped to 51 per cent. It's also less likely to prompt people to reject a certain model or brand, so consumers may be willing to sacrifice efficiency in the name of reliability. 

As vehicles continue to evolve, purchasing concerns are likely to change with them, especially has hybrids and electric vehicles continue to grow their influence.