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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Automotive arrow New Car Buyers seeking Emotive Needs in India
New Car Buyers seeking Emotive Needs in India PDF Print E-mail
Written by TNS   
09 Mar 2005

Potency and Status needs higher among younger buyers

According to the findings of the 2004 4-wheeler brand health & need segmentation study released today by leading market information provider, TNS, emotive needs such as potency, prestige, and status account for over 50% of the car buyers in India.

Representing the responses of more than two thousand new car buyers providing over 8,000 evaluations, this study conducted by TNS specialist division, TNS Automotive, is a “first of its kind” initiative to understand the hidden motivations behind car purchase and customer perceptions of all available brands in India. Unlike traditional brand research studies where customers are questioned directly about their purchase reason, this study utilizes a proven psychological framework to uncover the motives that drive brand selection.

The study identifies the following six need segments in the Indian automotive market:


?“Contrary to the belief that prestige and status needs are pre-dominantly among buyers of higher-end vehicles, the study clearly reveals that needs exist across vehicle segments,” said Rajeev Lochan, General Manager (Asia Pacific) of TNS Automotive. “While prestige and potency related needs are the key motivators for entry luxury buyers, these needs exist across segments, including the cheaper small cars” he added.

The key drivers for the six need segments in India are summarized below:

  • Potency buyers are motivated by a need to attract opposite sex and feel powerful; brand image of trendy and innovative appeals to this group.
  • Utility buyers seek a need for basic transportation and care for family; Value for money and cost of ownership are the benefits that these buyers associate with.
  • Prestige buyers are motivated by a need for prestige, indulge self, and exclusivity; They are least price sensitive and desirous of latest/ futuristic features in cars
  • Adventure buyers seek fun & adventure and to increase popularity; SUV finds preference for these buyers who relate to their cars as “lover”.
  • Status buyers want to show-off success and attract attention; Superior craftsmanship and best technology are imagery issues that this group relates to.
  • Liberation is the smallest of the six need segments – these buyers seek increased freedom and latest technology; safety consciousness is relatively higher among them.

“It is apparent from the need segment drivers that a majority of motives are about what a consumer desires to communicate to the outside world based on the car he/ she uses,” comments Lochan. “Therefore, it is vital to understand these underlying drivers for consumer behavior and position brands accordingly instead of solely focusing on rational elements of purchase such as fuel economy and engine power.”

While brands cut across different need segments due to a similar identity, the varying degrees of “fit” is determined by its soul or persona. Needs such as adventure and liberation are more expressive, while status need is more subdued. Similarly, potency need is about self-assertion and more individual oriented, whereas prestige is more about affiliation and family oriented. The two examples below further illustrate the essence of these differences.

  • Hyundai and Maruti: At a rational-level, both these makes finds similarities on some of the rational brand drivers such as good fuel economy, easy to maintain, practical cars, and good after-sales service coverage. However, Hyundai’s persona is more expressive, while Maruti’s is more protective. For example, increase popularity and show-off success are stronger motivations for Hyundai, while basic transportation and fit-in socially is higher for Maruti. Consequently, Hyundai finds a relatively better “fit” with adventure and potency as compared to utility and status for Maruti.
  • Honda and Toyota: Superior craftsmanship is a key similarity for both these brands at a rational-level. However, Honda’s positioning is closer to the individual oriented zone of self-assertion – reflected in one of its key motive of “feel powerful”. Toyota, in comparison, falls more on the expressive and affiliative side with motives like “feel young” and “for adventure and fun”.

Charts and graphs extracted from this press release must be accompanied by a statement identifying TNS Automotive as the publisher and TNS Automotive 2004 India 4-Wheeler Brand Health & Need Segmentation Study as the source.

About TNS
TNS is a leading global provider of market information. We collect, analyze, and interpret information to help our clients better understand the needs and wants of their customers. We provide research, advice, and insight on market segmentation, advertising and communications, new product
development, brand performance, and stakeholder management. We are also one of the leading providers of social and political polling.

From our global network, which spans 70 countries, we provide local expertise and knowledge, together with internationally consistent information and analysis to multi-national organizations.

TNS is listed on the London Stock Exchange (TNN). Further information can be found on www.tns-

Last Updated ( 18 Aug 2005 )
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