Research Your Car Purchase: A New Capital One Survey

June 29, 2010

A new Capital One survey reveals that first-time car buyers do a pretty good job of researching the make, model, and price of the car they want to get. However, they do less than a stellar job on other costs associated with owning a car.

The Seventh Annual Rules of the Road Survey from Capital One Auto Finance was particularly interesting to me because the purpose of this website ( is to provide a consumer-oriented perspective of the car buying experience, so shoppers will be better informed on how to buy their next vehicle quickly, with less stress, and on or below budget.

This new survey highlights exactly where new car buyers do a good job and where there is room for improvement.

Doing a Good Job
A full 70 percent of first-time car buyers researched the price of various makes and models of cars prior to making a final decision on which to buy. Just over half developed a budget to help them determine what they could afford, taking into account future expenses and loan payments. Good news: 88 percent of those who developed a budget actually followed it when deciding which car to purchase.

However, despite good buying habits when it comes to comparing makes, models, and prices of cars, the majority of first-time buyers need help with other aspects of the car buying process.

Need Improvement
Almost half of first-time car buyers did not figure in the cost of:

  • maintenance
  • repairs
  • registration
  • parking

Furthermore, 48 percent didn’t know the interest rate they were being charged on their car loan and one third hadn’t checked their credit score prior to getting a vehicle. Savvy car buyers (or those who read this website regularly) know that financing costs add appreciably to the overall cost of owning a vehicle. Yet, only one in five first-time buyers actually went online to research their financing options. In fact, over half of first-time car buyers surveyed did not know that they could go online to compare financing options or apply for a new vehicle loan online.

Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Capital One Auto Finance, said: “It is important that first-time car buyers do their research and factor all elements of car ownership into the purchase price before moving forward with a decision.” Yajnik went onto say that there’s a wide range of financing options available to car buyers now.  He said first-time buyers need to understand their financing options and “… not to be forgotten--know their credit score and how that score could affect the terms of their loan.”

Tomorrow, Capital One’s tips for first-time car buyers.

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