People Research

With the increase in traffic, future cities will be populated by microcars and served by efficient public transport systems. Driving to the city will be almost impossible and certainly the experience will not be enjoyable giving the fact of congestion, speed limit, parking problem, road rage, etc. The pressure at work will be higher than any time in the past. From time to time, people need to escape from the pressure and hard work. Some of them may find driving a performance car as a way to release the pressure. The demand of fun car will increase. While I have always maintained the view that cars should not be just a tool to take people from here to there, the activity of driving; the process should also be enjoyed. So for my “car of the future project”, I drew my attention on the pleasure of driving, the car that will be used for leisure time outside the city for people to discover the emotion and harmony between them and the machine.

The people research is conducted in order to map people types, find out their distinctive lifestyle, character, habit, need, trend and all sorts of things that the certain group of people have in common, in this case, the people who appreciate the fun of driving. Surveys and interviews were used to achieve the results. The results will be used as a general guild and form the foundation of the car of the future that I will be designing.

In General (based on the survey of 40 people):

  • Almost everyone lives in suburban area.
  • Most female drivers regard cars as a tool to get from A to B,
  • Almost all male drivers regard car both as a tool and a toy and buy cars for both everyday use to go to work and for recreational use like weekends and holidays
  • Absolutely everyone enjoys driving; include people who treat cars as tools, but they still enjoy the process of using such tool.
  • Majority of the car drivers uses public transport or walk in the city
  • Most young people who are studying and working don’t have a second car for leisure occasions. Older people at their 30s who have formed a family usually have 2 cars. As the age going older, the number of cars people own also go bigger. People at their 40s and 50s would have enough savings to afford a more luxurious car or a sports car for leisure time driving.
  • Although most cars have 4 or 5 seats, only 1 to 3 are usually in use. From the observation at the exit of the Eastern Freeway turning in Hoddle Street, almost of them drive solo, very few carries another one passenger.
  • Amount all the problems in motoring experience, congestion is rated as the most hateful thing, followed by speed limit, road rage and parking problem.
  • Most people are worried about the environment issue and wouldn’t mind to pay more for a car that is more eco-friendly and fuel efficient, which means people like to contribute and make effort on green issues. More than half of the people would even sacrifice the good look and speed to go green, the majority of other half is not sure, and they would rather like to have both of them. The rest of the sample, which are car enthusiasts, would hate to drive an ugly car that is eco-friendly and slow.
  • Many people would like their car to look luxurious and expensive, some even prefer crazy and flamboyant. Most female drivers want to have a big size car. Amount all the different countries’ car design, German car styling are ranked the highest (because they stand for luxury), then is Italian and British. Japanese car styling is ranked the least preferred style (that is probably because Japanese cars just don’t look luxurious).
  • People’s preference in the aspects of a car:
  1. Looks
  2. Reliability, build quality
  3. Luxury
  4. Safety
  5. Performance
  6. Sustainability
  7. Cost
  8. Fuel efficiency
  9. Practicality
  • Most people would like to have automatic driving and flying ability featured in their future car. Very few people are happy with the current normal car.

Most people would like to try a new type of vehicle

Nobody has ever heard of Ekranoplan or Ground Effect Vehicle

Everyone would like their cars to be able to do something that other’s cars cannot do.

All of them would like to have a little adventure or different experience with their cars

When the idea of an Ekranoplan car is explained, almost everyone showed and interest in such thing and believes it will lead to a new lifestyle and motorsport, and more than half of them would like to try to live such lifestyle.

In Depth (based on interviews with a few car enthusiasts like sports car owners and race drivers)

After the general public research, I found out that although everyone enjoys driving, young drivers cannot afford to have a car only for driving pleasure. People who buy a car for leisure time driving experience are usually at their 40s to 50s (some exception fall into a younger age group from 30s to 40s), this is the time when they buy the first car only for fun. As they aging, more spare money is saved to spend on cars for recreational use. So I went on to search for those people and tried to find out what kind of people they are.

I found that most of the people who buy cars for recreational use have already owned 2 to 3 cars and live in suburban area. Those cars are usually practical cars like hatchbacks, sedans and people carriers, which are more of a tool for them for everyday use such as driving to work, shopping and school run. The 3rd or 4th car they buy will be a sports cars or supercars for weekend and holiday, which are more of a toy for them. Some of them have holiday properties at the beach or countryside. Most of them are business owners or high income professionals like company directors and doctors. Although the same group of people may also spend their money on luxury sedans, those who choose sports cars show a much younger mind and fitter body and have more active and dynamic lifestyle then others in the same age group. They like to play tennis, golf, swimming and winter sports like skiing and water sports like sailing. Typically, they would finish their weekday work and pack up everything they need in the boot and head to their holiday properties with their family and spend the weekend there. Most of them joined the owners club of the car they own and actively participate in organized events like track days and member’s dinners.

Depending on how big the business they own and how big their income is. Their driving machines ranges from more affordable brands like BMW and Porsche to high end, money-is-no-matter Ferrari and Maserati. Although they own fast cars, none of them would speed on public roads even though nearly all of them rank speed limit higher than congestions and other issues as the most hateful thing in motoring, the reason being that they don’t want to lose the license and not be able to drive the car. That aside, they do share a more aggressive driving style then others in the same age group in the form of rapid acceleration and braking, but not speeding. They are responsive drivers and consider that only poor people speed on the road, rich people speed on the track. Apart from that, they also enjoy the sense of knowing the high speed ability of their cars but not really using them.

The buying decision of their driving machine is somehow complex. After all, the car is quite costly. However, the main driven reason being that they want to reward themselves after a decade or two of hard working. In other words, they buy the car as a gift to amuse themselves. Other reason include they are having mid-age crisis and want to add a little pizzazz back to their lives and a fresh feel of individuality, a personal statement. Generally speaking, when buying the car, looks and performance are usually their first priority. However, the research shows a trend of older buyers consider luxury and safety higher than looks and performance, since they are aging and may no longer be able to fully experience the performance of the cars, they would like to appreciate the build quality and on-board luxury features a bit more. Aspects such as sustainable, fuel efficiency and practicality scored equally very low on the priority. None of them would pay for an eco-friendly car that is not good looking or slow.

Although they are all wealthy sports car owners, and they have a lot of qualities in common, there are still subtle difference amount them and can be divided into 4 groups, interestingly, they also roughly follow the age groups and price range.

1. Young people at their 30s who bought their first performance car and are inexperience and unfamiliar with the performance of the cars. But like the speed and push the car a bit. Also buy the car for personal statement. Their choices of cars are usually the entry level sports cars like Porsche Boxter, BMW M3

2. Older people, usually at their 40s, who are still very active, like the sensation of speed and handling, would like to be a fighter pilot but can’t, so they bought a sports car and fly on the ground. They will buy a Porsche Carrera S or a Maserati GT.

3. Purists, people who just don’t care what other people think of them in their cars. They are more into the engineering and technical side of the car, love the design and the way the car is designed and the package. They drive the car to feel the mechanicals and engineering, not for personal statement. They will by BMW M6 or Posche Carrera 4S or Maserati GT

4. Probably the oldest group who have achieved success in their lives, like to enjoy the quality products and service. They require everything in their lives to be the best and perfect. Their cars are Porsche Turbo and GT2, Ferraris, or Maserati Quattroporte.

In conclusion, my target segment would be those high income people who have an active and dynamic lifestyle, appreciate engineering and driving pleasure, enjoy the unique experience offered by the car and the sense of being an individual, can afford a car as a reward for recreational use in weekend and holidays.

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