Car Care Council's new survey reveals changes in consumer behavior

Jan. 1, 2020
Rising gas prices and an emphasis on the 'greening' of America have positively impacted the way the nation's drivers maintain their vehicles, says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Associat

(Nov. 2, 2007) Rising gas prices and an emphasis on the "greening" of America have positively impacted the way the nation's drivers maintain their vehicles, says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association's (AAIA) senior vice president of marketing and member relations. White presented these and other findings from a recent national survey of consumer attitudes and behavior during a special education session hosted by the AAIA yesterday at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.

"The survey was fielded by the Car Care Council, and was designed to help us get a better sense of what motivates consumers to make their vehicles safer and more reliable," White said after the information session. "We wanted to get a sense of what is driving people today, rather than continuing to use the data we collected six years ago."

White adds that the survey results will also help the council make sure that its messaging is on target with what is of concern to consumers.

Although the Car Care Council expected to collect different results than in the past, White was pleasantly surprised to learn that more than half of all drivers (57 percent) reported changing their driving behavior due to rising gas prices, and 75 percent of all motorists responsible for maintaining their vehicle reported that they are having more preventive maintenance done for the same reason.

"People are really starting to get it," White told Aftermarket Business. "They're beginning to understand that if they spend a few bucks up front, they're going to save a whole lot of money at the pumps."

Although some of these findings contradict previously reported findings on consumer attitudes, White attributes the shift in this behavior to the shock factor wearing off.

"We've been living with these gas prices for more than a year now," he adds. "Because people can't stop driving and often can’t change the number of miles they have to drive, they are starting to change the way they drive."

During the information session, White reported on the specific parts, components and maintenance that are neglected by motorists, as well as the progress of the aftermarket's consumer education outreach program and the complete results of vehicle inspections during the April and October Car Care Month events. White also provided business-building advice on how and why repair shops, franchises, parts stores and distributors should get involved in consumer education initiatives, and how such outreach efforts can improve the bottom line.

But perhaps the biggest news White shared with the crowd is the fact that motorists are becoming more aware of the benefits of regular maintenance than was reported when the Car Care Council fielded its first survey six years ago.

"Sixty-seven percent of motorists are saying that they have learned the value of regular maintenance for their vehicles," says White. "To me, that means our campaign has been a success."

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