Holiday Shopping Hint: Two-thirds of Americans Want a Car for Christmas


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WASHINGTON--Dec. 5, 2012: The auto industry is a bright spot in the U.S. economy, and one reason is that many consumers are eager for a new automobile -- and secretly hope to receive one as a holiday gift, according to a new poll released today by automakers.

Holiday advertisements for cars as gifts appear every year about this time, and half of consumers are familiar with these auto ads showing someone giving or receiving a car. According to an Auto Alliance opinion poll of 5000 consumers, only 17% of people have ever bought an auto to give to someone, but 65% of Americans would like to receive a car as a gift this year.

"The average age of vehicles on U.S. roads is a historic high of 11 years.  So we see pent up demand for new vehicles, and when this is coupled with low credit rates, auto sales have been more robust than the general economic recovery," said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Auto Alliance.  "Our consumer polling shows that many Americans have their noses pressed against the front windows of car dealerships, hoping someone thinks they have been good this year."

What hints would you drop to signal your interest in getting a car as a gift?  Most people (25%) would frequently mention how old their car is, while others (17%) would drop hints during a TV advertisement about cars as gifts. Some people (7%) would leave car advertisements lying around.

If you were getting a car as a holiday gift, would you want to help pick it out or would you rather be surprised?  In the Auto Alliance consumer poll, two-thirds of respondents (63%) wanted to help pick it out, while 25% preferred to be surprised.

For those people who want to be surprised with a new car, 28% would like to find out by the car keys being gift-wrapped under the tree.  Another 26% prefer to find the new car in the driveway with a large gift bow on it, and 19% want a surprise trip to the dealer.

Who in your life might give you an auto as a gift?  Sadly, most consumers (51%) said no one. Other consumers were more optimistic on possible gift-givers:  the most likely source is spouses (23%), followed by parents (8%), your children (5%), girlfriend or boyfriend (4%), a very good friend (2%) or your boss (1%).

For the past two years, December has been the month with the highest auto sales all year. Regarding overall annual sales, in both 2010 and 2011 auto sales increased 10% per year, and sales are projected to increase another 12% or more in 2012.

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