A record low level of new motor vehicle acquisitions by affluent consumers is suggested by the most recent survey in a series of studies that began in Spring 2002.

Negative attitudes about the current economy and the economic outlook for the next 12 months are contributing to plans for deferring the purchase or lease of new motor vehicles by affluent consumers during the next year, according to the Spring 2009 Affluent Market Tracking Study, the fifteenth in a series of twice yearly surveys of the affluent market.

In the Spring 2009 survey of the wealthiest 10% of all U.S. households, only 14% of the affluent consumers reported plans to acquire a new car during the next 12 months. Equal to potential purchases of 1.6 million cars (almost 20% of the current annual sales pace in the U.S. for the auto industry), this is a 30% decline from the Fall 2008 survey and a record low. The record high for intentions to purchase or lease a new motor vehicle was 37% in the Fall 2003 survey.

As in earlier surveys of affluent consumers, the likelihood of purchasing or leasing a new car increases with wealth (both income and net worth). In the most recent survey, 15% of the households with incomes above $200,000 and 21% of those with a net worth above $6 million plan to acquire a new auto during the next 12 months.

The survey respondents indicated a negative 12 month outlook for business conditions and personal household income. They also reported declines in their net worth, as a result of substantial declines in the value of their home and their investments/savings during the past two years. Together, these factors have contributed to a general attitude toward reducing or deferring expenditures in all areas.

The intentions to reduce or defer new auto purchases are consistent with the overall mood of the affluent market. Over 80% of the survey respondents reported that they had made a general effort to reduce or defer expenditures during the past 12 months, would make a conscious effort to do so during the next 12 months, or had both done so in the past and would continue to do so in the future.

The survey is representative of the population of the most affluent 11.2 million households in the U.S. that account for almost 40% of total personal income and two-thirds of the personal wealth of all Americans.

The 640 men and women included in the national survey have an average annual household income of $290,000, an average primary residence value of $1.2 million, an average net worth of $3.1 million, and average investable assets of $1.4 million. This survey of the affluent market has a maximum margin of error of five percentage points.

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Ron Kurtz is President of the American Affluence Research Center, which provides marketing research and mailing lists of affluent consumers to prominent companies targeting the affluent market.

AARC is an independent, private research organization dedicated to providing reliable marketing information about the values, lifestyles, attitudes, investments, and purchasing behavior of the most affluent segments of the U.S. population through both custom and multi-client surveys.

Ron’s experience includes over 20 years in senior management positions in the airline, hotel, and tour business. As the founding President of Sea Goddess Cruises, he created the product category of small deluxe ships for the very affluent. He also served as the chief marketing officer of four cruise lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises.

Ron has been a key contributor to 6 start ups and 11 turnarounds of substantial businesses. He earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.

The American Affluence Research Center CONTACT: Ron Kurtz at 770-740-2200 or info@affluenceresearch.org. Website: https://www.affluenceresearch.org