2020 Consumer Car Trends: Here’s What Car Buyers Really Want 

By Alex Perdikis

It doesn’t matter what car manufacturers tell consumers they want. What does matter is what consumers want. That’s why Brandwatch surveyed thousands of consumers and found out what they look for when they buy a new car. Their answers provide insight into why people buy the cars they buy. 

Quality Ranked First

Although quality is an individual and rather vague quantity, it ranked first among survey responders.



“Quality for those living and driving in regions with snow and varied terrain look for rugged reliability and enhanced safety features. Others might think that personalization equals quantity.” — Alex Perdikis


Clearly, manufacturers need to narrow down consumer preferences and zero in on what they mean by quality. 

Affordability Ranked a Close Second

The fact that affordability ranked high on respondents’ lists comes as no surprise. Consumers only have so much money. They have to be able to afford the dependable car they drive. 

Affordability and quality go hand in hand. Consumers first look at cars in their price range and demand quality no matter what the price. 

Customer Service is Key

Third place in the survey comes as somewhat of a surprise. Friendly customer service both at the manufacturer and local dealer levels ranked high on consumer lists. 

One of the most common complaints consumers mentioned was not feeling valued after they purchased their car. Things go wrong. There’s no way to avoid that. But, if consumers feel that dealerships ignore warranties and their problems, they react negatively. 

Friendly and reliable customer service is not only important during a sale but after as well. 

What Else Do They Want?

The Brandwatch survey asked specific questions about other aspects of car buying and the most looked for services and products. Below is a breakdown of the results.

    • Convenience: 8% of the respondents said that convenience was important to them when they looked at purchasing a new vehicle. Location, hours open, ease of contact and accessibility before and after the sale were vital requirements.
    • Fast Customer Service: 7% expected quick customer service responses and actions. Otherwise, they felt ignored.
    • Sustainability: Although ranking this low on the 2020 trend list was somewhat surprising, sustainability was important to 7% of respondents. 
    • Innovative Products or Services: Only 5% of the respondents thought innovative services or products were important. Does this mean that manufacturers should spend more time developing quality over innovation? Time will tell. 
    • Personalization: Although Mexican respondents ranked personalization high, the rest of the world didn’t care. Only 5% of the total respondents chose personalization as a key factor when they buy a car. 

What About Self-Driving Cars?

Self-driving cars are a hot topic, but what do consumers think? It depends on where they live. More people in the U.S. gave self-driving cars a thumbs-up than any other country. Consumers in Spain, however, were not at all impressed.

Globally, 9% of respondents agreed that self-driving vehicles would be the new year’s most transformative innovation. 

The year 2020 promises to be an exciting one for cars, consumers, auto manufacturers and dealerships. 

Alex Perdikis, Koons of Silver Spring general manager and owner, lives in Chevy Chase with his wife and daughters.