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- Research reveals most of us feel out of our depth when buying a car –

Are we made up with our motors or simply fed up with the cars we own? A study published today reveals why some of us just aren’t satisfied: a huge seven out of 10 (70%) of buyers have purchased a car even though the information they were getting from the car dealer went right over their heads.

According to fish4cars, the nationwide classified car website, over half of car hunters (55%) buy a car without a full understanding of its history, functions or specifications: a symptom of the fact that 57% of us admit to feeling totally befuddled when negotiating with car dealers.

Although car-sales jargon can often be baffling, the fish4cars ( report illustrates that the full scale of car buyers’ confusion stretches to common phrases and abbreviations, with car jargon blunders such as:

• “My car is more inner city than off-road” – A third of people quizzed (30%) believed that SUV stood for Standard Urban Vehicle rather than Sports Utility Vehicle

• “Pull up the sails I’ve found a parking spot!” – 6% of those questioned thought ABS stood for a nautical-sounding Anchor Based Security rather than Anti Brake-Lock System

• “My car was a steal” – Although nearly half (48%) of those asked knew that a hot hatch was a ‘souped-up’ hatchback, over one in 10 (12%) believed the description ‘hot hatch’ meant the car being advertised was stolen!

These mistakes may not always lead car hunters up the wrong driveway, but it’s easy to get terms confused, even for those who are very clued-up about cars. The report also demonstrates that with more advanced jargon, misinformed buyers neglect to double-check their knowledge. For example:

• Mind your Ps and Qs – 48% of people who believed an MPV was a Multi Person Vehicle rather than a Multi Purpose Vehicle

• Not so quick off the mark after all - A ‘high performance engine’ is one that goes from 0 to 60 mph very quickly, though over a quarter of those asked (27%) believed the term referred to efficient fuel consumption.

Colin Mathieson, sales director for fish4cars, believes that the problem stems from people being afraid to ask salesmen when they don’t understand something: “It’s important to remember that they’re not trying to hoodwink you, they’re just trying to give you as much information as possible to help you make a decision.

“It’s very common to feel a little out of your depth when speaking to a car salesman – and yet bemused buyers seldom speak up. This is partly because they don’t want the salesmen to believe they are ignorant, or even worried they will ‘try to pull a fast one’ on them. In truth, most salesmen will take questions as a sign of an astute buyer who knows what he or she wants.”

Buying a car, whether it’s new or used, is one of the biggest investments people make, and it’s not one they should be making rashly. To help car buyers get the most out of their visits to forecourts, fish4cars has compiled these handy hints:

1. Preparation is everything. Take note of the most common phrases and abbreviations whilst browsing and prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask

2. Know what you’re looking for. This refers to more than just price range or colour – have an idea of extras, features and specifications you want so you aren’t tempted into paying for those you don’t need

3. Take your time. You won’t need to decide on the spot, so take a short walk or go to a nearby café and allow the information to digest

4. Two heads are better than one. Always try to take along a friend or family member – this means you’ll have an impartial sounding board and a fresh view on questions or details. If they’re a car expert, so much the better!

5. Don’t stay in the dark. Make sure your appointment to view and test drive the car falls during daylight hours

6. Never be afraid to ask. If a description is ambiguous, or you’re overloaded with acronyms, don’t be afraid to ask. Salesmen won’t be deliberately trying to bamboozle you, and asking will remind them to slow down!


Notes to editors:

The survey used a representative sample of 124 GB adults

For further information, or to speak with a fish4cars spokesperson, please contact the fish4 team at Cow PR on 0207 684 6969 or Alternatively, contact Katie Siegel at fish4 on 0208 600 6998 or

Further information about fish4, as well as all recent press releases, can be found at the fish4 media centre:


fish4 is the UK’s largest classified website for jobs, homes and cars with over 4 million unique users per month*. The company was developed in 1999 and is run by three of the biggest regional press groups: Newsquest Media Group, Trinity Mirror and Guardian Media Group Regional Newspapers. Collectively they account for over 60% of the UK’s regional press. fish4 advertises in over 500 regional newspapers and distributes its classified search facility on over 220 regional websites. For more information visit: Fish4 can also be accessed on your mobile by visiting

* Source: ABCe (Jobs) HBX (Homes/Cars) October 2006

About fish4 cars

fish4cars is one of the UK’s fastest growing used car sales websites with over 465,000 unique users and 2.5 million car searches every month. Between 2006 and 2007 more than 1000 new dealers signed up to the fish4cars network of more than 220 local, regional and national newspaper and magazine websites pushing the total number of advertising dealers to more than 3000 displaying 120,000 vehicles. The site features partnerships with leading car dealers and manufacturers including: Network Q, Reg Vardy, Arnold Clark, BMW, Volkswagen and Ford. The site also includes bikes, vans & trucks, boats and caravans as well as information on loans, car insurance and vehicle checks.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Cow PR in the following categories: Men's Interest, Leisure & Hobbies, Motoring, Transport & Logistics, for more information visit