Contemporary consumers are conservative car-buyers


As has been noticed in many consumer categories since the financial collapse of Fall 2008, consumers are getting into the habit of taking more care with their cash – and that certainly carries over into the car-buying area. The vast majority are milking more miles out of their existing vehicle.

A study from finds that 80% are shooting for 50K more miles out of their vehicle compared to their mileage goals of the past. Further, the idea of getting more out of an individual car has become a habit for many that may not be directly tied to the economy – 58% says they want more miles out of a car despite an improving economy.

AutoMD found that 12% are actively in the market for a new automobile, but of that group, only half are getting a new car because they simply want a new car. 6% have no other option.

It further found that despite the fact that most are trying to extend the life of the vehicle, they are not buying long-term service contracts on grounds of expense, preferring to pay as they go at local service shops.
AutoMD says part of the reason people feel they can forego a service contract is the availability of good car repair advice online. This is good for DIYers, it’s good for local repair shops, and its good for AutoMD, which provides such advice.

“With better built vehicles able to sustain longer lives on the road, and new access to robust online repair information, we are not surprised that car owners continue to hold onto their current vehicles for miles longer than before, and that many of those who plan to buy a vehicle are opting out of purchasing a service contract and plan to either do their own repairs or visit their local repair shop instead,” said Brian Hafer, VP of Marketing for “Our mission at is to help these car owners keep their vehicles running well and safely by empowering them with comprehensive information on the best and most affordable options for repairing their vehicle, including a robust online community of shared knowledge and help finding the best local repair shop for their needs.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We do not happen to need our two family vehicles for a daily commute to work, but we do need them, and have vowed, like a western desperado of old, to ride our two nags ‘til they drop (sorry, dealers!). We think this study is accurate, and broadcasters may want to adjust their thinking accordingly.

We had a perplexing chronic problem with one of them, and finally found a possible solution online, just as AutoMD suggests is possible (it was not with AutoMD, for the record). Armed with the info we printed out, we visited a repair shop and finally – FINALLY – got the problem fixed after about two years of trying.

We offer this anecdote to suggest that the AutoMD report has legs, and to suggest that automakers likely need to sort out and adjust to new models of supply and demand. And local broadcasters may want to extol the virtues of their station’s audience to various car repair shops that would like to pick up some new customers. Also, you may be able to get more money out of dealerships by getting them to emphasize the service side of their business.