Imagine you’re driving down the road and someone cuts you off. Depending on the make and model of the car, your reaction can be anywhere from, “hmmm” to “of course you cut me off, since you drive a (fill in the blank).” It is pretty tempting to make assumptions about people based on the cars they drive. Everyone in a minivan has 2.3 kids and is on their way to soccer practice, right? You know this isn’t sound logic, yet many dealerships try to understand the car market they’re selling to with these same types of assumptions.
There’s a lot of data out there for understanding the car market, and it’s key to harness it as a part of a strategy to increase your sales. Just to demonstrate how challenging and misguided it is to base your marketing efforts on assumptions about car owners, take a look at three commonly misunderstood car owners:
The pickup driver: Those who tend to rely on stereotypes about pickup truck drivers likely live in an area where pickup trucks aren’t popular, such as New York City or Boston. In other big cities, like Houston, a pickup is not only part of the culture but is often the luxury vehicle of choice.
The income of a pickup driver is hard to pin down, because while some earn less than $20,000, they are also favored by business owners pulling in millions. Drivers of pickups tend to enjoy outdoor recreational activities, like fishing, hunting and hiking. While they embrace a variety of outdoor fun, golf is the exception.
The SUV driver: The soccer moms of the 1990s have largely moved on to crossovers and given way to the original drivers of SUVs, who tend to be more conservative, Republican and are interested in religion. These drivers are not interested in pop culture, nor do they tend to follow current events.
SUV owners tend to be pragmatic when it comes to spending money and while they tend to have ample discretionary funds, they tend to be thrift shoppers. They also tend to live in rural areas.
The sports car driver: These drivers tend to be mostly male and are either in their 20s or their 40s, and there is a disjointed relationship between income and sports car ownership. While owners are either in the $30,000 to 40,000 bracket or they make over $250,000, those in the lower income bracket outnumber their richer counterparts by seven times.
The challenging aspect of selling sports cars is that many of what appear to be qualified leads are actually only window shoppers. Many of the typical indicators for a qualified buyer don’t apply in the marketing of a sports car.
These profiles of car owners demonstrate the importance of using data to inform your efforts to reach the car market in your local economy. There’s a wealth of data available for better understanding your target car market, so make the most of it.