Jacobs survey looks at auto buyers


Jacobs Media’s new survey reveals that there is a willingness among consumers to buy or lease an American car or truck, if automakers market the most attractive features. With both General Motors and Chrysler on the verge of bankruptcy, a recent research study conducted among more than 21,000 rock radio listeners from around the U.S. reveals that many consumers who are in the market to purchase a new vehicle this year will strongly consider an American car or truck.

Overall, 12% of the total sample indicate they will purchase (or lease) a new vehicle in 2009. The good news? While nearly half (46%) say they always buy a domestic product, one-fifth (18%) say they are strongly considering an American car or truck, even though they typically opt for a foreign brand.

How can GM, Ford, and Chrysler ensure these buyers will purchase one of their vehicles? By marketing the most desirable features and options.

The study asked prospective vehicle purchasers to rate the most desired features and options relating to entertainment, music, and information. Beyond the ubiquitous AM/FM radio and a CD player, the most desirable feature is the ability to connect an iPod to the vehicle. Mentioned by nearly half as a very important feature, connecting an mp3 player stands heads above other options, including satellite radio, GPS, a DVD player, and HD Radio.

“The automakers are struggling to generate sales in a challenging economic environment,” notes Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs, “but outside of KIA’s new commercials for their Soul, iPod connectors are not in the sales proposition. It’s a missed opportunity. Satellite radio and GPS won’t move the needle – but iPods will.”