“Mercedes [are] so reliable and fantastic value"
DESIblitz undertook a recent study investigating which cars British Asians love to buy and drive. We found out that British Asians really like luxury cars, though in times of recession they have cut back slightly and opted for more economical options. Wealthy customers and Asian Tycoons will drive a prestige brand, especially if it has a resale value.
One in five British Asians drive a Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Ford and Golf, according to feedback received from several car garages, industry experts and members of the general public.
Although Mercedes, BMW and Audi remain the most popular makes for South Asians in the UK, the demand for Golf, Ford, Jaguar, Range Rover and Honda has always been there.
When selecting a car, consumer choices varied across demographics, location and social income. Trends indicate that in South Asian densely populated areas of the UK, cars may not be any different than those driven in areas where only a handful of British Asians live.
Identifying favourite brands of cars across the United Kingdom has been an interesting analysis into the British Asian psyche. We take a close look at the five most popular cars.
Mercedes has always been the most popular car driven by members of the South Asian Community. With the rise of Japanese and French cars, popularity has declined a little, but the car remains popular as ever.
The Mercedes target audience is divided into three categories: British Asian entrepreneurs [UK’s rich list], community members on an average income and youth/children from a wealthy South Asian background. Karan Bilimoria, one of the two founders and chairman of Cobra Beer acknowledges that “Mercedes [are] so reliable and fantastic value.”
Garages we spoke to told us that those aged 35+ are more in favour of buying a Mercedes. Having said that young British Asians of traditional family background also drive a Mercedes. For example at weddings, if anyone asked which car do you drive – the answer was more often ‘A Mercedes.’ Under the sports car category, young Asians love the Mercedes C63 AMG.
Mercedes spends an average 1.23 days off the road for maintenance work, compared to 1.39 days a year for Audi. “Even a poor Asian will go for a beat-up, second-hand Mercedes,” an Indian woman said.
Asian financial experts Sapna and Super described driving a BMW as a ‘pleasurable’ experience’ with the added bonus of its ‘optional extras.’ The three cars: BMW M3 1 Series sports car, the New 5 Series and X3 SUV were named as ‘Right on money’ in research carried out by ‘Which? Magazine last year.
Reliability also plays a plus factor in the choice for choosing a BMW, according to readers of the magazine. BMW is around hundred pounds cheaper to maintain than Audi and Mercedes. Like the Mercedes, BMW spends the same time off the road for maintenance.
British Asians in the UK simply love the car Audi for its prestige, sporting image and unique set of extras. The Audi S3 is very popular amongst Asian people. Audi’s logo resembles the Olympic symbols, with the latter different in colour[s]. This can have an indirect influence on Asian people subconsciously buying an Audi for its sports theme.
Audi is also unique in comparison to its rivals Mercedes and BMW for refusing to create the four-wheel drive layout in its cars. The younger generation are drawn to Audi’s in-car entertainment device called multimedia Interface (MMI) system.
Ford comes at number four and is less popular than Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Unlike the Mercedes and other cars on our list, Ford is an original British company spanning 45 years. Garage services favour Ford as it costs less to maintain.
Asian people who choose to remain old school British without being drawn towards all the fancy extras often purchase Ford cars.
According to our research, many of the Ford and Mercedes drivers today use the same garages for maintenance services. However, compared to the South there was no mention of Ford popularity up in the north amongst Asian people.
The number five car in our list is Golf. People up in the north of England mentioned the MK4 Golf as a very popular car amongst Asian drivers. Young Asian people consume Golf because they are attracted by its sport image, compact size and its unique name plates, which have become a common fashion statement for the youth these days.
Young Asians follow sports quite closely and thus Golf’s sporting appeal relates to people who regularly watch Polo and Derby events. This strong message is portrayed in Golf’s marketing campaigns. Asians also favour Golf as it runs efficiently on diesel. People up in the north tend to opt for new diesel cars. Talking of this Kamal from Rochdale said:
“Diesel MK4 Golf has to be the best Golf with a diesel engine. They last forever if maintained well.”
According to the Which? Car Survey, diesel cars “retain their value better than petrol versions (and gives) better fuel economy and lower tax rates.” They are also good for making long journeys. Which? Magazine however does not support diesel cars because their maintenance costs are higher according to them.
Other rival cars, which scored highly amongst Asians, included Range Rover, Jaguar, Astra, Corsa, Phantom and Bentley. However these fall outside of our top 5 list of cars.
Popular sports cars not mentioned in our top five rankings include Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo. British Asians love hyper exotic cars such as Lamborghini Murciélago and Porsche for being heavier sport cars. Other exotic cars, which are supported by Asians, include the Audi R8, Ferrari F430 and the Porsche 911.
We can safely say that based on our analysis and industry advice, Mercedes is the most popular car amongst the Asian community, followed by BMW and Audi. The popularity of Mercedes may be attributed to strong family values where the younger generation are driving the same family cars, while others are driving sports Mercedes.
The car experts appreciate the Lamborghini Murciélago because it possesses awesome power, speed and sound, making it the most popular hyper and exotic car in our analysis.
In the years to come, it will be fascinating to see what trends emerge in the motor industry because it is quite evident that British Asians love and passion for cars will continue to flow in the same fashion.