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Running costs key to buying a car

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Over the past six months the decision processes involved when buying a car have changed, according to a poll.

The survey published by AA Personal Loans shows that it is now car running costs - such as fuel economy and the cost of car insurance premiums - rather than reliability that is the most important factor influencing people buying vehicles.

In March 2008, 28% felt that fuel economy was important, but this figure has risen to 45%. Meanwhile, the number seeing reliability as important has fallen from 33% to 24%.

The second most important reason for changing cars now is that the current model is too old and needs replacing.

In the reasons-to-buy table reliability is now third. The fourth reason is the need for a new car to make longer journeys, followed by desire to buy a "green" car.

The company's chief executive, Mark Huggins, said: "Despite falling petrol costs, our first car purchase index shows that the current financial climate is making people reconsider their options when buying a car, and looking for something cheaper to run is a good way for a family to economise."

The survey was based on responses from 8,000 AA members.

© Press Association 2008