Family Car Purchase and Related Decision-Making Influences

One of the most relevant internal influences in purchasing a family car is needs, motives, and emotions. If taking the model of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a car in modern society appeals to two aspects at once, safety needs as a reliable means of transportation in a safe manner. Furthermore, it also feeds esteem needs because despite a new car being a major purchase, it is not available to everyone, so it does present a feeling of accomplishment and prestige. Of course, the discussion of internal motives when purchasing a family car can vary.

These can range from having a vehicle that is comfortable for the whole family to take on trips while others may need to take the kids to school and go to work. A family car is symbolic in Western developed countries as something that is best for the family and can contribute to that family lifestyle of going places together. That is why family cars are often marketed with an emphasis on more safety and reliability, greater space, and kid-friendly features. That is because it directly appeals to and reflects the internal needs that this product category fulfills for those that require it.

External consumer influences that can have a profound impact in the case of buying a family car are demographics, income, and social class. A family vehicle is representative of a middle-class suburban family. For such households, a family car is affordable but still represents a major purchase. Those more affluent typically do not have to worry about purchasing family vehicles, while those in lower socioeconomic classes may struggle to afford a full family car, if any, the vehicle at all. Income plays a large role in the selected brand and type of vehicle. The demographics of the household and neighborhood may also play an inherent role.

For example, taking into example, a typical middle-class suburban family would be influenced by the mid-range family vehicles targeted to those consumers, with brands such as Volvo, Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Hyundai. More affluent families in the upper-middle class will have a much different range and income in mind, with a focus on brands such as Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW. Meanwhile, lower-income families may seek out affordable family cars the likes offered by Subaru, Nissan, and Chevrolet. Therefore, it is evident that each brand appeals to various socioeconomic brackets, and there are distinct differences between the same class of family vehicle the brands in price, features, quality, and of course, prestige. It is based on the external influences of demographics and income that a household will ultimately choose the family car that is the best fitting for their lifestyle and affordability.

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