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Canadians put car buying intentions into neutral this spring — RBC poll

Affordability is important to both genders; women focus on the test drive and best price in their car buying decisions

TORONTO, April 17, 2013 - Four-in-10 Canadians (39 per cent) are likely to buy a car in the next two years, according to an RBC Auto Poll (opens new window). The survey suggests that Canadians are evenly split when considering how a new car purchase would affect their finances, with exactly half saying they are confident that they would not go into debt with a new vehicle. The other half expressed doubt or did not know the impact buying a new vehicle would have on their personal finances.

"The poll shows that car purchasing and leasing intentions have stalled this year, as Canadians think prudently about how it may affect their personal financial situation," said Richard Goyder, vice-president of Personal Lending, RBC. "Whether it's to get to work or to meet the needs of a growing family, the reality is that many Canadians need a vehicle. The majority also get help from their bank, whether at the branch before purchase or while at the dealership when they're ready to buy."

Once Canadians are ready to buy a car, the survey found that almost six-in-10 (57 per cent) plan to finance all or a portion of their next vehicle purchase or lease, with 59 per cent of those planning to finance (opens new window) doing so with help of their financial institution

Canadians budget before buying a car, seek multiple sources of advice
When asked about financing their vehicle, more than half of Canadians (52 per cent) surveyed consider their budget to ensure they can afford it. The interest rate on a loan (20 per cent) and the monthly payment (16 per cent) were the next most important factors. The majority of Canadians who own or intend to purchase a car (62 per cent) say paying off a loan quickly is more important than low monthly payments (36 per cent) when buying a car. Half of Canadians (51 per cent) get car-buying advice from family and friends, followed by car dealers (46 per cent). News media (31 per cent) and online forums (26 per cent) are also popular sources.

Women focus on overall costs of a car
While men and women are about equally likely to buy a car in the next two years (42 and 38 per cent, respectively), there are some differences in how they may approach this major decision:

Influencing factor Women Men National
Affordability 89 per cent 80 per cent 85 per cent
Best price after
comparison shopping
80 per cent 72 per cent 76 per cent
The test drive 67 per cent 52 per cent 60 per cent
Car-related costs 66 per cent 54 per cent 60 per cent
Positive consumer reports 62 per cent 52 per cent 57 per cent

"A car is a major purchase that requires research and advice. It's an entirely personal choice, and it's important to know if you can afford your car beyond the monthly car payment. Use online calculators, talk to your banker, and consider other factors in your overall financial picture," said Goyder.

About the 2013 RBC Auto Poll
The 2013 RBC Auto Poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid between March 6 and 12, 2013. The online survey is based on a randomly selected representative sample of 1,559 adult Canadians. The results are considered accurate to within ±2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and are among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, and investor services and wholesale banking on a global basis. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 49 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com (opens new window).

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.

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For more information, please contact:
Ka Yan Ng, 416-974-1794, kayan.ng@rbc.com
Matt Gierasimczuk, 416-974-2124, matthew.gierasimczuk@rbc.com