Keeping up with the Joneses

It appears the old catchphrase ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ still applies in the UK when it comes to our cars. More than 1.5 million people across the country have admitted they would upgrade their car if they thought their neighbour’s vehicle was worth more than theirs, according to a poll by

The poll looked at categories including the importance of attributes such as colour, what depreciates the value of a car the most and whether consumers would be more tempted to sell their car if it was worth more than they thought.

If you want your neighbours to think you’ve gone up in the world, it’s time to look more closely at the colour of your vehicle. Almost half of the population (49%) think black is the colour to go for if you want to make your car seem more expensive. Yellow, purple and green cars languish way behind with only 3% of the votes between them – although some people may appreciate the individual colour statement their owners are making!

Forget superstars’ cars with cool technology and plenty of personalisation, it’s ‘back to basics’ when it comes to making our cars appear more expensive. Leather seats topped the list of items ordinary consumers value the most in cars (67%), well ahead of DVD players (18%) and exclusive number plates (15%). Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger generation think Xenon lights are key to making cars look more expensive (63% for those aged up to 24 compared to just 24% for those aged 45 and over).

Whilst two-thirds (68%) of us believe we know the value of our vehicle, we are unsure on the impact the recession has had upon our cars (27% of men and 38% of women). With this in mind, 40% of consumers would be tempted to sell their car if they discovered it was worth more than they originally thought.

When it comes to the depreciation of our cars, 40% of the nation thinks high mileage is the top indicator of a less valued car (rising to 50% for females). Other key factors are smoke coming out of the exhaust (22%), customisation (16%) and scratched paint (14%). Plus it doesn’t hurt to smarten up a bit if you’re looking to sell your car – 3% of the population admits the look of a previous owner can have an effect on the amount they’re willing to pay for a car!

Matt Thompson, Marketing Director, Auto Trader, says: “Whether consumers are looking to take advantage of extended scrappage schemes, or simply just want to keep up with their neighbours, there’s never been a better time to think about selling a car. A lot of families in the UK could be sitting on a nest egg they don’t know about.”