16% of Motorists will change car this year – AA Survey

AA Ireland recently surveyed a panel of over 7,000* motorists on their plans to purchase new, second hand and electric vehicles in 2010 and beyond. Overall, 16% hope to change their car this year. Results found the majority (54%) intend to purchase a second hand car. 6% plan to buy a new car and a minimal amount (0.3%) plan to buy an electric vehicle in 2010.


New Cars

68% of motorists stated they are not likely to buy a new car at any stage in the near future. 6% intend to buy a new car in 2010 with the remaining 26% not planning to invest in a new car until beyond 2012. Many motorists reported inabilities to secure car loans or are still paying off loans to their current car. However, some anticipate the current fuel economy may drive the need for a new car as motorists change to a diesel engine. According to recent CSO figures on new car sales, 34.2% were petrol and 62.1% were diesel. This is a major turnaround on the established pattern and shows that Diesel is now the fuel of choice.

Electric cars

Only 0.3% of respondents said that they will buy an electric car in 2010 but a healthy 11% hope to purchase one beyond 2010. 53% never plan on converting to electric, 34% are still undecided. While the electric car was favoured in theory, motorists are waiting until the infrastructure is more developed. They remain concerned about the practicalities and efficiency for long distance journeys. Usage is not yet applicable to rural locations however results predict a dramatic increase beyond 2010 as the technology advances.

Second Hand

Most car purchases are of second hand vehicles. 54% of motorists surveyed are planning to buy a second hand car in the future. Almost 10% intend to purchase in 2010. A quarter of drivers are still undecided.

‘Buying a car can be a daunting task. You want to be confident that you are making the right choice’ says David Murphy, AA Technical Services Manager. ‘Reports of dodgy dealers prevail our nation’ says Dave. ‘An AA Vehicle Inspection will give you peace of mind, and help you to protect your investment. It includes a full mechanical and electrical check to ascertain any pre existing damages’. To avoid uncertainty, complete an AA Car Data Check to find out if a used car has got a hidden history.

The AA emphasises the importance of efficient car maintenance as motorists keep their cars for longer “Drivers of cars over 4 years of age are three times as likely to call out the AA than drivers of cars under 2 years old.” Says Murphy. “As our vehicles get older we expect to see an increased number of call outs for age-related problems, and we are just beginning to see those effects now. “Of course, brand new cars break down as well, but whether your car is new or not-so-new the philosophy is the same – prevention is better than cure.”

It is worth remembering that batteries typically only last for 3 to 5 years and will need to be replaced as the car gets older. AA attends 150,000 call outs per year with battery and electrical problems between them accounting for nearly half of all incidents. The risk of battery failure is twice as high for a four year old car than for a one year old car. Tyres will usually last no more than 40-50,000 kilometres before they need to be changed. It is important to check them thoroughly to make sure that they are not damaged or worn and that they are inflated correctly.

Preparing for trouble

Help reduce the risk of breakdown by simple things like:

  • Planning your journey in advance and carrying a map
  • Not driving if you feel too tired – never drive for more than 3 hours without a break
  • Sitting comfortably in the car
  • Never drink and drive
  • Remember that frequent short stops are better than one long one.
  • Check the oil, battery and the tyre pressures regularly.
  • Don’t let your fuel tank run close to empty – keep it well topped up.
  • Make sure your spare wheel is in good condition.
  • Consider an automatic latex puncture repair aerosol to get you to the nearest garage.
  • Carry a set of jump leads, some basic tools and a torch.
  • Always respond to warning lights, they come on for a reason and shouldn’t be ignored. Regard them as a breakdown signal.
  • Always try to remain aware of your approximate location while driving (name of road, town or any landmarks)
  • Keep a pair of sturdy walking shoes, a light coloured weatherproof jacket and something reflective to wear in the boot at all times. Click here for more driving tips

The AA wishes to offer the following safety advice in the event of a breakdown;

  • You should be a Member of the AA. This means you can freephone reliable help 24 hours a day, no matter where you are. If you are already a member, always keep your card to hand.
  • If possible stop the car in a well-lit spot as close to a public phone as is practical. Keep going until you can stop in the best place. Your safety is of paramount importance, not your car.
  • Consider carrying a mobile phone, and if you have one make sure that the battery is charged.
  • If you have to stop on the Motorway hard shoulder we recommend that you leave the car and stay in behind the barrier where possible. The AA’s experience shows that a very high proportion of Motorway accidents involve vehicles parked on the hard shoulder. Stay out of the car with the passenger door open and all other doors locked. This means you can secure yourself inside the vehicle quickly if you are threatened.
  • If you are on a secondary or minor road remain in the car with all doors locked.
  • Be very careful accepting help from a Garage/Mechanic who has not been sent by the AA and always check their credentials thoroughly. Talk to them through a closed window until you are sure of their bona fides.
  • If you do decide to accept help take a note of the registration number and colour of the vehicle which stopped and leave these details in your car before you get out.
  • Carry a personal alarm, and again remember your horn. Don’t be reluctant to use them; it is far better to frighten someone who doesn’t deserve it than not to frighten a potential attacker. If marooned, never hitch a lift.

The AA attends about 150,000 car breakdowns every year. You get all sorts of problems but the AA Patrol Force repairs almost 80% of cars on the spot and gets them back on the road. Impressive as this is, there are still plenty of cases where replacement parts and garage repairs are needed. Batteries, clutches, engines – they can mean big bills. Breakdown Repair Cover, protects members against the unwelcome burden of unplanned and expensive car repairs covering repairs of up to €1000. The AA is currently offering an introductory fee of €66 before May 31st 2010.

Please refer to AA technical services for further offers. http://www.aaireland.ie/technical/ or phone 1890 456555

*AA online survey carried out as part of AA Motorists’ Panel research, 7,000+ responses received between 23rd April to 12th May 2010.