A customer opening the door of a car in a showroom

Car buyers want more safety information

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Safety is not high on the agenda for the majority of new and used car buyers in the UK, with only 4% ranking car safety as their number one buying consideration, according to new research from Co-op Insurance and vehicle safety experts Thatcham Research.

The top five priorities were found to be price, value for money, brand, mileage and colour. These were followed by appearance (if there are scratches), performance (how fast it goes), fuel economy, and size, with safety in 10th place.

Yet more than three quarters (77%) believe safety ratings should be increasingly highlighted when buying a car.

Customer receiving car keysThe survey revealed that over two thirds (68%) of drivers have no idea what the official safety rating is for their current car, and more than half (54%) did not ask any questions about safety when they were buying their car.

This is despite features like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Detection now being widely available on many affordable used cars, Co-op Insurance said.

The researchers suggested that motorists are often confused by jargon and acronyms when it comes to car safety features, with 63% wanting clear information on safety.

Co-op Insurance has worked with Thatcham Research -- the UK's official crash test centre -- to devise a formula ranking used family cars costing no more than £15,000 according to safety.

The Volvo V40, with Safety pack, took the top spot. Runners up were the Volkswagen Golf and the Nissan Qashqai, followed by the Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mazda 3, Mercedes A Class, Honda Civic, Mazda CX-5 and the Fiat 500L.

James Hillon, director of Products at Co-op Insurance, commented: Car safety is so important, not only for drivers but for all road users.
"Our research has found that price dominates buying decision and safety just isn't front of mind when consumers shop for a used car."

Mike Bristow, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, added: "Vehicle safety technology can be crucial in protecting drivers, and more vulnerable road users should they be involved in a crash.

"These statistics show that many people feel vehicle safety is important when buying a car, however it also highlights a lack of understanding of what is available to help keep them safe. We need to ensure there is comprehensive and clear information available to drivers on safety when purchasing a car, helping to protect all road users."

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