Buying a car is indeed an emotional experience. Emotions drive our decisions to buy, as well as our decisions about what to buy. In fact, our desire to experience certain feelings, as can be provided by a new car, is one of the emotions of deciding.
The decision to buy a new car is usually precipitated by a desire or need to exit from one life situation into another, a better situation, that only a car can help accomplish.
If you are a teenager having just learned to drive, you want the freedom, sex appeal, fun, and peer admiration that a car can provide. Acquiring a car is the bridge between childhood and adulthood, with all the emotions that go with it.
If you been driving an old car, you may be looking for the safety and reliability of a newer car, and the peace of mind that comes with it. You may be concerned about the comfort and safety of your family. Your emotions might be jumbled as you try to rationalize the cost and financial sacrifices you’ll have to make.
If you’re socially conscious, a car may be a way for you to make a statement of your success and relative wealth, real or pretended. You know you will be judged by your peers by the car you drive. You may buy a hybrid to demonstrate your concern about the environment and wasteful energy use.
If you are a driving enthusiast, a new car can take you back to your teenage years. It makes you feel more attractive, satisfies your love of all things mechanical, takes you to new places, or simply rejuvenate a dull life. A new sports convertible offers new experiences that the old family sedan can’t.
Making decisions about what brand of car to buy, which options to select, and what color to choose is often emotional – “Which color is really ‘me’?”. The buying process itself is emotional for most people – negotiating price and dealing with salespeople. Even the end of the process is emotional – “Yes, I love my new car but is it the right car for me and did I make the right decision?”
Of course, emotions are not the only factors in making new car buying decisions. Finance and pragmatics are the other significant factors, which can often be at odds with emotional factors. Even though you may want that fancy new convertible, can you afford it and does it meet the needs of the family? Are you willing to pay the high fuel costs of the big SUV you want? Will that sporty little coupe hold your four kids and the dog on trips? Is your credit score good enough for a low-interest affordable loan on that new sedan? Is the engine in that small gas-saving car powerful enough to pull the boat to the lake on weekends?