Aug 30, 2012
ATLANTA, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As students head back to school this year, their parents will likely be footing the bill for far more than school supplies and new clothes. A recent summer survey conducted by AutoTrader.com revealed that more parents today are purchasing their child's first car—a sharp contrast from who paid the bill when those parents were young.
Among adults who have children of driving age, 53 percent said that they had to buy their own first car, versus 14 percent who said that their parents purchased it for them. Today that trend has almost totally reversed: 41 percent of those same adults bought their child's first car for them, and only 17 percent of their children purchased their first car for themselves.
"Having personally experienced this shift, I expected to see an uptick in the percentage of parents who purchased their child's first vehicle, but it was surprising to see how much the pendulum had swung," said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights at AutoTrader.com
Parents surveyed said their primary motivation for making the purchase was to give them more control over what their children are driving. The secondary reason was because they felt an obligation to help their children.
"These motivating factors highlight two interesting hypotheses regarding the role of vehicle purchases among today's first-time car buyers," Wainschel continued. "First, the desire to 'control' the purchase may speak to the inclusion of car purchases in our society's overall move toward so-called 'helicopter parenting.' And second, the 'obligation' that parents feel may be related to the financial situation that their children face in today's economy.
"Whatever the motivating factors are, that first sense of autonomy and independence that buying a car represented may be diminished just a little by the parent's involvement in the purchase decision."
10 Great Cars for First-Time Drivers
With more parents footing the bill for their young drivers' first cars, AutoTrader.com polled them to find out what vehicle characteristics were most important to them. The top three characteristics were Reliability (cited by 76 percent), Safety (cited by 74 percent) and Price (cited by 63 percent). Keeping these in mind, AutoTrader.com's expert editorial team recommended the following 10 vehicles:
Click here to view a snapshot of these Shopper Insights from the AutoTrader.com Trend Engine.
Created in 1997, Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com is the Internet's ultimate automotive marketplace. As a leading resource for car shoppers and sellers, AutoTrader.com aggregates millions of new, used and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers and provides expert articles and reviews. AutoTrader.com, which also operates the AutoTraderClassics.com auto marketing brand, is wholly owned by AutoTrader Group. Additionally, AutoTrader Group owns Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) as well as three other companies that provide a full suite of software tools that help dealers and manufacturers manage their inventory and advertising online: vAuto, HomeNet Automotive and VinSolutions. AutoTrader Group is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. Providence Equity Partners is a 25 percent owner of the company and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.
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