ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

How safe is my car - is safety a priority in private vehicle purchasing

Clark, B, Hoareau, E, Newstead, Stuart, Koppel, S, Charlton, J (Peer reviewed)

Vehicle Safety


In recent years significant effort has been focused on improving the safety culture amongst fleet buyers; however around half of all new vehicles sold in Australia are for private use. In attempts to highlight the importance of vehicle safety amongst private consumers of both new and used cars, a number of consumer information programs have been developed. These include the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) Program and the web site. Surveys have identified an increase during the past decade in the level of consumer interest in vehicle safety. Despite this, the priority private consumers place on vehicle safety within their purchasing decision remains unclear. A comprehensive review revealed a paucity of public information regarding consumer understanding of specific safety features or ratings, and the importance placed on safety features relative to other features such as convenience and comfort. The aim of this research was to explore the key mechanisms driving private consumer choice in vehicle selection, particularly regarding safety within Australia. A total of 2,013 participants from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland who were in the market for a vehicle, completed pre and post vehicle purchase surveys (n=1,009 and n=1,004 respectively) designed to establish purchasing behaviours and priorities across the vehicle purchasing process. The factors: age, gender, concern about crash involvement, and sourcing ANCAP ratings were found to be significant factors in the identification of a „safe vehicle purchaser‟ profile. Females, participants aged 50 years or older, those with greater levels of concern about being involved in a crash, and those who sourced ANCAP information were identified as being more likely to place high priority on secondary safety features in their vehicle purchase. The results of this project provide valuable insights which can be employed to encourage private vehicle buyers to purchase the safest possible vehicles.