There’s More To The Cost Of A Car Than Just The Purchase Price – But Don’t Tell That To Shoppers!

Leading Experts in Buying and Insuring Cars Team Up to Find Out What Matters Most to Car Buyers; Results Show People Put Purchase Price First, But Forget to Consider Other Costs Like Fuel, Insurance

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio – January 4, 2006 – Are you someone who debates endlessly whether to get leather or fabric interior, or spends a week deciding between fire engine red and canary yellow when shopping for a new car? Or, do you go to the car dealership calculator in hand, ready to crunch some numbers? If you said the latter, you’re not alone. According to an online survey conducted by The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, new car shoppers say they put the bottom line above all else. But while consumers are most concerned with the cost of the car itself, they seem to discount the importance of how much it will cost them to actually own and operate it.

The survey, which queried people researching new cars on, a leading vehicle information Web site, finds that overall purchase price is the most important factor to people shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent). Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at 7 percent.

But while they care a lot about their car’s purchase price, many shoppers ignore two factors that have a big influence on the cost of owning the car: how much it will cost to keep the fuel tank full and how much it will cost to insure.

At the time of the survey, gas prices were at record highs with the national average ranging from $2.24 to $2.54 per gallon. And, insurance can be a significant cost of owning and operating a vehicle. Yet, those surveyed rank both fuel efficiency and the cost of insurance as two of the least important factors when shopping for a new car.

“It’s interesting to see what’s most important to people when they’re shopping for a new car,” said Robin Harbage, product development manager, Progressive. “Our results show that even the most savvy shoppers, like those who visit, are concerned with the economics of buying a car but not what it costs them to actually use it. We want people to realize that insurance can have a big influence on how much they pay to operate their car over the long haul, and that the type of vehicle they buy makes a difference when it comes to the cost of insurance.”

When determining rates, insurers generally consider factors such as the vehicle’s make, model, year, weight, horsepower and body type. They analyze how often specific types of cars are involved in accidents or are stolen, and how much they’ve paid out in claims for various makes and models. This helps them predict the likelihood of future losses and set accurate rates based on risk.

Harbage added that even if budget-conscious consumers are unwilling to consider buying a car that’s generally less expensive to insure, they can still save money on their insurance by shopping around. Because different insurers consider different factors when setting rates, the cost to insure a given vehicle can vary by hundreds of dollars among companies.

The survey also finds that while respondents generally agree that cost is a major factor in their decision about what make and model to buy, they disagree about the importance of features such as reliability, safety, performance, and creature comforts such as heated seats and moon roofs.

For example, 10 percent of drivers spend no time at all weighing a car’s reliability, while 16 percent spend a week or more thinking about its creature comforts, and 19 percent spend a week or more on performance.

Older drivers – ages 50 to 64 – are twice as likely as younger drivers � ages 18 to 24 � to spend no time at all considering a car�s safety features.

And when it comes to men and women, some stereotypes continue to live on. Men are twice as likely as women to rank performance as the most important factor when buying a new car. And, 25 percent more women than men spend a week or more weighing a vehicle’s safety features.

About The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person and online service. The products and services of the Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies are marketed directly to consumers by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at through the Progressive DirectSM brand. The Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies offers insurance through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies that market their products and services through the Drive� Insurance from Progressive brand. For more information about Drive Insurance, go to The Common Shares of the Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at


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