Toyota Belgium, one of the market leaders in the segment of individual buyers with its Yaris model, ordered a survey showing great uncertainty reigning in this market segment about when and what to buy.
Toyota Belgium asked marketing research specialist Ipsos to investigate the buying intentions of individual car buyers. 1 000 respondents (only potential individual buyers) replied between 11/29 and 12/04/2023.
Difficult and complex
About half of the respondents consider the search for a new car more difficult and complex compared to 10 years ago. Over 40% really don’t know what to choose, and one out of three postpone the purchase of a new car in the short term.
The main reasons for this hesitation are uncertainty about what to buy (44%), the avalanche of information available (33%), the price of new cars 24%), and which drive to choose (17%). The result is that one out of three potential buyers within two years is postponing the purchase.
The main three criteria considered when buying still stay the same as 10 years ago: purchase price, consumption, and reliability. When asked why they are postponing a purchase, 70% indicate price as the main reason, followed by 50% that hesitate about drive and battery technology evolution.
Petrol still preferred
Despite the EU goals of abandoning ICE cars (with an internal combustion engine) as soon as possible, almost four out of ten individual buyers still prefer petrol driven cars (37%). More than a quarter (27%) choose a hybrid, and almost one out of five (both times 17%) opt for a full-electric drive or a diesel car.
The main reasons to avoyd buying electric are the so-called ‘limitations’ of driving electric, 59% is then poiting at the long charging times and the charging infrastructure. 56% of the non-electric buyers still stumble over the price.
Almost half of them are unaware that there are premiums (Flanders) or tax incentives (in the whole of Belgium) for electric cars. The persons who are prepared to go electric remain uncertain about which electric car to choose.
Finally, half of the respondents still prefer buying a brand-new car, and less than one-third opt for a second-hand one. Two-thirds of those see price as the main reason for their choice.
It’s not illogical that a car brand like Toyota has ordered this survey. In Belgium, Toyota is the number three in the market segment of the individual buyer, and as this market has been slowing down lately (only one-third of the total market are individual buyers now), the manufacturer wants to know why the consumer is hesitating.
Of course, the particular position Toyota (the world’s number one car manufacturer) is occupying plays a role here. As the champion of the ‘normal’ hybrid car (HEV), it has for a long time hesitated to go for the fully electric car.
This attitude has changed lately and Toyota obviously sees the European market as one of the most important to introduce pure electric driving. As the company is not so well represented in the professional market of leasing and renting, the more important it is how the individual buyer thinks and reacts to the energy transition in the car world.