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Millennials have most faith in the car industry; female car buyers are least trusting

Millennials have most faith in the car industry; female car buyers are least trusting

Car buyers aged 18-34 trust the motor industry more than older generations, according to a study by the UK’s fastest-growing automotive shopping site, CarGurus*.

While older buyers are more cynical of the car industry’s intentions, transparency and reliability, Generation Z and Millennial purchasers believe that automotive brands and businesses put consumer and societal interests first.

The insight is one of the revealing findings of the forthcoming 2020 CarGurus Car Buyer Trust Index**, a new study that examines the role trust plays in the car-buying process.

The social conscience of a car brand is notably more important to young people and nearly two in five (37%) said they think the industry can be trusted to do the right thing for society.

That compares with 27% of Generation X (those aged 35-54) respondents and just 15% of Baby Boomers (55-64), with more than a third (36%) of world-weary older buyers actively distrusting the intentions of automotive brands.

Overall, women view the car industry with far more suspicion than men, with only a quarter (26%) of female buyers believing that it has their best interests at heart. A third of men (32%) had more faith in the sector.

Likewise, more than half (52%) of the females surveyed said they were uncertain about where they stand on the issue, making women 9% more likely than men to be unsure about how trustworthy the car industry is.

In order to establish what builds trust for buyers, the CarGurus Car Buyer Trust Index focused on five key factors: integrity, transparency, genuineness, social conscience and reliability. Overall, integrity (a brand delivering on its promises) was ranked as most important (81%), followed by reliability (79%), transparency (75%) and genuineness (72%).

The CarGurus report, which will be published in January, will suggest that car brands should focus on highlighting their social and ethical credentials in order to cater for the increased importance placed on social conscience by younger buyers.

Car brands may also need to work extra hard to win the trust of female car buyers, according to the Index, paying special attention to maintaining integrity and transparency, since these are areas where women over-index compared with men (82% vs 80% and 78% vs 72%, respectively).

“The good news for the car industry is that the younger generation, which is crucial to the future of the sector, has a level of trust in car brands,” said Madison Gross, Director, Consumer Insights. “The work that manufacturers are doing to move towards electrification and adopt a greener approach to building cars is, doubtless, playing a big part in engendering that trust. 

“As these are the car buyers of tomorrow, it’s important that businesses continue to enhance that relationship with Gen Z and Millennial buyers.

“However, it’s clear that, despite recent efforts, more needs to be done by car makers in how they serve female car buyers. Studies show that women are quite often the key shopping decision-makers in relationships. Despite this, the car industry is historically a male-dominated environment. That needs to change if the sector is to harness the power of the female buyer.”

Founded by TripAdvisor co-founder Langley Steinert, CarGurus combines dealer reviews with comprehensive car valuation analytics to bring trust and transparency to the automotive marketplace, allowing buyers to quickly and easily find great deals from the best dealers.

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