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Tax Refunds Going Toward Vehicle Repairs, Survey Reveals

April 03, 2012

SAN JOSE, Calif. — As Tax Day fast approaches and refunds begin making their way into the bank accounts of many Americans, a new survey commissioned by eBay Motors found that more than one-third of vehicle owners plan to use their anticipated tax refunds for something related to their car, truck, or motorcycle.

Conducted for eBay Motors by Harris Interactive, the survey polled more than 2,200 adults across the United States, 34 percent of which said they will spend part of their tax refund money to buy a new or used car or truck, or to spruce up their current vehicle. The following is a breakdown of the results:

1.       Maintenance (49 percent)

2.       Repairs (32 percent)

3.       Buying a new or used vehicle (21 percent)

4.       Tires (19 percent)

5.       Cleaning or detailing (14 percent)

On average, respondents who expect to spend at least some of their refund on a vehicle or parts and accessories plan to put 31 percent of this year’s refund toward a vehicle-related expense. In addition, 42 percent of respondents say they plan to take automotive-related deductions when they file their taxes.

“The survey findings support the trends we have seen over the past few years in relation to sales and search increases on eBay Motors over the course of the tax season,” said Gregory Boutte, vice president of eBay Motors and Electronics in North America.

In 2010 and 2011, total searches for parts and accessories on eBay Motors during tax season (March and April) grew 17 percent and 23 percent, respectively, when compared to the average number of searches in other months of the year. As a result, sales of parts and accessories have also shown growth during the tax season in prior years. Tires and wheels have traditionally been the most popular tax-season accessories eBay shoppers purchase for their vehicles. Other popular items include grilles, motorcycle parts and motorcycle accessories, including jackets, leathers and helmets.

Boutte added that Americans appear to view tax refunds as opportunities to make purchases of vehicles associated with the joys of driving. The search terms on eBay Motors that have shown the greatest increase in frequency during the past two tax seasons are motorcycle, sports car and exotic-related vehicles, such as Harley-Davidson, Corvette and Mustang.

The Harris Interactive online survey was conducted February 13 and 15, 2012, and was weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population and to adjust for the respondents’ propensity to be online.

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