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3/9/2012 - Car shoppers base buying decisions on "common knowledge"

Car buyers may choose a vehicle based on reputation and not actual safety data.

A new study indicates that when car buyers avoid a certain type of brand, many do so because they've heard bad things about its reliability rather than having poor experiences with it.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, more than 40% of new-car buyers said they avoided purchasing a certain type of make or model due to reliability issues that are primarily considered to be conventional wisdom rather than first-hand knowledge.

A smaller percentage of motorists - 14% - said they shied away from purchasing a particular type of vehicle because of poor safety reviews given by car experts. A car's make and model may also be among the things auto insurance providers take into consideration when assessing rates. Safety ratings may also have an influence.

Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power, said this study should serve as a wake-up call to automakers.

"The fact that so many new-vehicle buyers may be basing their opinions about quality and reliability on pre-conceived notions, rather than concrete information or data, demonstrates how important it is for automakers to promote the quality and reliability of their models," said Osborn. 

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