Why Are So Many Drivers Unhappy with their New Cars?
Even if it sparkles in the sunlight, roars monstrously with a tap of the pedal, and smells like it just came off the production line, you may regret buying a new. Buyer’s remorse for cars is a real affliction. It’s a sad one too, considering a car is a major purchase, unlike a Macbook Pro or a Gucci bag (which of course, get expensive).
Feeling Sorry Doesn’t Mean You’re Wrong
Buyer’s remorse is a real psychological state that will affect all consumers at some point in their lives. Researchers have defined it as “the sense of regret after having made a purchase”. Expensive or life-altering purchases such as homes and yes, cars, are often at the center of a buyer’s regret. Concerns over whether a buyer has made the wrong choice, fallen victim to peer pressure or the pushiness of a salesman often lead to the feelings of regret.
If you feel this way about a car you just bought, don’t beat yourself up too much about it. You’re not alone. Numerous studies have been published over the last few years, detailing the dissatisfaction drivers have with their new cars. And the stats show that it’s a pandemic. With that said, there is a difference between a case of buyer’s remorse and genuine frustration over a poor purchase.
Canadians Feel Lukewarm About their Cars
A study conducted back in January 2014 revealed that 33% of Canadians were unhappy with their recent car purchases. Another third of those surveyed felt they overpaid, many of participants acknowledging their vehicles simply didn’t meet their expectations. Even more interesting were the attitudes among drivers in particular provinces.
Ontarians were the least satisfied. 49% of Ontario residents acknowledged that their car needs would change with their next vehicle. However, their Quebec counterparts were far happier with their vehicles, with only 17% admitting they were envious of a friend’s or relative’s car (mainly over issues like handling and maneuverability).
Americans Are Unimpressed With their Automaking “Muscle”
Drivers aren’t much happier down south. Despite skyrocketing auto sales, American drivers have reached their lowest levels of satisfaction since 2004. Last year, 15 out of 27 car brands lost customer satisfaction points. The only two brands that saw an increase in owner satisfaction were Acura, which improved by 8 per cent, and BMW, which increased by 3 per cent. However, things have remained the same for most automakers.
In the U.S., the reason for such customer apathy has obvious reasons. The onslaught of recalls over the last five years has led to frustration among drivers – just last year there were 64 million. The technology in cars these days has reached a point where a line between fiction and reality seems almost non-existent (all we’re waiting for is flying cars now) and yet, defects abound in some of these newer cars. With that said, the price has gone up, and drivers feel like they’re paying for high-tech duds. For an individual who has had their vehicle recalled, there is legitimate frustration, rather than a feeling of remorse.
A New Set of Wheels is Still a Better Deal
Regardless of what may seem like an indifference to new vehicles, along with the flaws creeping up in them, buying new is still the best option for many drivers. It’s more than just bragging rights. From a practical standpoint, a new (or at least newer) vehicle offers many advantages, including warranty (which often covers at least 80,000 KM), less maintenance (after all, it’s new), and exclusive offers such as cash rebates.
And not all brands are on the low end of the owner satisfaction, however. European (although the Volkswagen brand is now tainted), Japanese and Korean cars still rank fairly high in the minds of North American drivers. The domestic brands, though, might have some catching up to do.
What’s On Your Mind?
With everything mentioned here, how do you feel about the quality of new cars. And if you have recently purchased a new car, how do you feel about it? Do you love it? Hate it? Or are unsure whether it was the right purchase for you? If you’re among those who have buyer’s remorse, remember that the vehicle itself may not be the problem. It could just be a normal response that comes after buying an expensive item (in this case, a car). And if it’s due to an actual defect or glitch, you can trust your dealer to take responsibility and fix the defects. Modern cars aren’t perfect (nothing is), but they’re certainly heading in that direction.