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Kelley Blue Book Survey Shows Car Shoppers Prefer to Buy American

January 8, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. – Nearly three-quarters of car shoppers say they prefer to buy American-made products, according to a recent survey by Kelley Blue Book, a provider of new- and used-vehicle information.

Fifty-one percent of the survey respondents say they try to buy American-made products if they are readily available and price-competitive, and 14 percent say they will go out of their way to buy American. Six percent say they will only buy American-made products, and they will do without if an American-made product is not available.

The penchant for buying American-made products also has made its mark in the automotive marketplace, even amidst the recent turmoil of the domestic manufacturers. One-third of new-vehicle shoppers say they would only consider cars from United States-based manufacturers, such as vehicles made by General Motors, Ford or Chrysler, and that they would not consider any vehicles from other countries.

At 33 percent, exclusive interest – shoppers saying they would only buy cars from a particular country – was far higher for vehicles from the United States than for any other country. Exclusive interest in Japanese vehicles, in comparison, was only 12 percent and five percent for vehicles manufactured in Germany. Furthermore, vehicles from the United States are on the vast majority of shoppers’ consideration lists, with more than 90 percent saying they would consider buying a vehicle from a domestic manufacturer, compared to 74 percent for Japanese vehicles, 57 percent for German vehicles and 38 percent for Korean vehicles.

In addition, an overwhelming majority (97 percent) of vehicle shoppers plan to buy rather than lease their next vehicle, and nearly 70 percent say they will purchase new cars rather than used.

"Seeing the domestic automakers' recent struggle has ignited a heightened sense of patriotism among some American car shoppers, and the latest Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research indicates that people are pulling for the Big Three to survive and thrive," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. "The overwhelming inclination to buy versus lease is a sign of the current economic climate. People feel that leases are both less available and not as financially advantageous as they previously were. In addition, consumers are being more fiscally conservative in the midst of the recession, opting to buy a car they can afford versus leasing a car that may realistically be out of their budget."

More than half of the survey respondents plan to purchase their next vehicle in the next three months, and say they could be motivated to purchase even sooner if good auto financing offers are available, citing cash rebates and incentive offers as most popular, followed by financing offers and then overall improved economic and personal financial stability.

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