In a poll released today by MSN.CA, Canadians confirm a strong attachment to their vehicles but prefer style and substance over flash. Forty five per cent claim a vehicle is their most prized possession. Yet this attachment does not override practical issues such as price and functionality. While an overwhelming majority of Canadians polled agree the look of a vehicle is very important, two thirds are reluctant to pay more than $30,000 for a vehicle. Offering a snapshot of Canadians’ attitudes toward their vehicles, the online poll of 1,200 J.D. Power Web Perspectives Auto Panel members was conducted between November 7 and 10, 2003. “This poll gives us some interesting insights into the relationship between Canadians and their vehicles,” said Ruth D’Souza, director of marketing, MSN.CA. “While Canadians value vehicles and see them as status symbols, we are also a savvy vehicle buying population. We are concerned about fuel efficiency, performance, and vehicle safety.” This no-nonsense approach is reflected in the type of vehicle Canadians buy. Although the minivan is considered the least desirable vehicle to own, women still rate it as the third most popular vehicle to fit their lifestyle. Canadians also lean toward classic vehicle colours blue, silver and black topped the list. Although Canadians are looking for a healthy marriage between style and functionality, when it comes to ranking vehicle features, men and women do not see eye-to-eye. For women, even the most stylish vehicle cannot sacrifice features such as safety ratings (74% women vs. 45% men), winter performance (68% women vs. 41% men) and fuel economy (68% women vs. 39% men). Men, on the other hand, view their vehicle as a way to get noticed (67% men vs. 47% women) and are more likely to be enticed by luxury options such as heated seats (22% men vs. 14% women). Regardless of these gender differences, both men and women are flirting with the emerging trend of vehicle customization. When asked, 41% stated that vehicle customization is important and are willing to spend on average over $2,000 to achieve a custom look. Of those who want to customize, top options include rims and tires, sound systems, and tinted windows. Women are more likely to invest in enhancing the look of their vehicle, placing more value on exterior paint (60%) and fabric and upholstery (60%). Alternatively, men are more likely to focus on customization features that improve performance such as air intakes (46%) and exhaust modifications (51%). A little less than half (43%) of those polled often feel pressured to buy a vehicle immediately when visiting vehicle dealerships. The fear of the pushy vehicle salesperson may also be the reason why 91% conduct thorough research before they buy. Over three quarters also rely on the Internet as a key resource when looking to buy a vehicle. Other Interesting Findings: -More than two thirds of Canadians polled believe “you are what you drive”. -Half of Canadians polled rate the “cool factor” of their vehicle as important. -While driving, 33% of Canadians polled admit they talk on their cell phone. -More than half of Canadian women polled can change a flat tire. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.msn.ca.