The question I will be basing my project on is “how did the consumer tastes and preferences for cars change for people from when they bought their first car, to today.” In order to gather the data necessary, I sent out a survey to people who have owned cars, and still does (adults), and asked them the following questions: “How old are you”, “when did you buy your first car”, “What kind of cars did you want”, “what kind of cars do you want now”, and “if your preferences changed, why?” I spent about one and a half week collecting data, but during this time, I started to look at the data and make hypothesis as to why they answered what they did. After I gathered the data, I analyzed it, and looked at the differences in preferences and tastes in the age group. This took about one week. I classified the groups and saw what kind of people want what kind of cars and why. By making a graph that showed the difference in the choices, I made the differences more clear to the audience. The time spent on making the presentation was 1 week.
Based on my data, I found the majority of younger people say that the most important feature they wanted in their cars were good looks. The second most important feature was whether the car was fuel efficient, and the speed of the car was the third most important feature. Although size was not a big consideration, more people preferred small cars over big cars. Out of the 32 people who took my survey, only 4 people cared about safety and no one cared about luxury when they were younger.
But, as they grew older, their tastes and preferences changed. Now, the most important feature of a car was safety. The fuel efficiency stayed the second most important, and the looks of the car dropped to third. When they were younger, more people preferred small cars over big cars, but interestingly, as they grew older, it switched, and more people wanted bigger cars rather than smaller cars. Now, 8 people wanted luxury in their cars, up from 0 when they were younger.
One of the biggest reason for some of these changes was because as they grew older, they had children. Because of this, the well being of their children, in other words, the safety of the car became more important than anything. The looks of the car was the opportunity cost, the second best choice one gives up in order to get the best choice, which was safety. There was also a bit of a trade off, because a lot of safe cars are not very fast. So, they had to give up a little bit of speed, in order to get a little bit more safety. This might explain why older people wanted bigger cars, because typically, the bigger the car, the safer it is. If a Hummer got in a head on crash with a Mini Cooper, the person in the Hummer would be much better off. Bigger families also need more space which might be another reason for a bigger car. People respond to incentives in predictable ways, and in this case, the size and safety of their family was an incentive for people to change their tastes and preferences accordingly. They used the concept of economic reasoning, which is the analysis of the costs and benefits of a decision to make rational choices. They can either have a car that goes fast, get in a crash and kill everyone in the car, or they can get a safe car, that isn’t very fast, but wouldn’t kill you on your first accident, especially with children on board.
Still, one feature that was wanted by people both younger and older people was fuel efficiency. Younger people wanted a fuel efficient car because they did not have lots of money to spare on gasoline. All they needed was a car that looked good, and a car that was cheap to drive. As they grew older, many people wanted an economical car for the same reason. But, as I looked more carefully at the data, there were several people who said that they wanted a economical car when they were younger, but not when they were older. When asked why, they answered a “increase in income”. Because they had more money, they have more “purchasing power” which is the amount of money people have to spend on goods or services, which affected their personal tastes and preferences. This explains why 9 people said they wanted luxury in their cars, something no one wanted when they were younger. Because they were older, confort also became an important necessity in their cars, and in some cases, more important the the money that goes into the fuel tank.
Because of a switch in priority from good looks/speed to safety, the tastes and preferences for cars also changed. More people wanted safer cars than cars that were fast or looked good. This also explains why people changed their preferences for small cars over big cars, because bigger cars are safer. What caused the change in priorities were incentives mainly family size, and the safety of family. For people who had money to spare, confort became a bigger concern than fuel efficiency, but overall, every change there was lead to a safer car.
If I were to do this project again, I would have collected more data. Although I did get enough responses, some were of no use (some teenagers even answered my form), so I was not working with a lot of data. Having more data might have allowed me to answer more in depths, and make even more analysis. Also, I thought it would be even better if I sent the survey to teenagers who owns a car, and to adults who own a car separately, instead of asking the same person how their preferences changed. This would have been more accurate, as the data would have given me a more direct answer (change in tastes and preferences).