The ongoing cost-of-living crisis is causing car buyers to delay purchases or even choose used vehicles over new models, according to new research. A study by consumer magazine What Car? found more than a third of buyers have delayed purchasing a vehicle due to the current cost of energy, fuel and food.

What Car?’s survey of more than 1,200 car buyers showed 36.6 percent have decided to delay their purchase due to the cost of living. Of those who decided to delay, almost half (48.5 percent) have decided to push it back by more than three months, with almost a quarter (24.1 percent) opting to delay until next year.

The research also found four in 10 drivers (39.7 percent) have changed either the make or model they’re considering due to the cost of living. Of those, 71.7 percent said they were considering a different make and model altogether, while 12.8 percent said they were looking at a different model from the same manufacturer.

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Similarly, 35 percent of respondents said they had reduced their budget as the cost of living rose, with more than a quarter (25.4 percent) of those saying they would cut their budget by 10-15 percent. Almost as many (23.6 percent) said they would cut their budget by 5-10 percent, while 23 percent said they would cut their budget by more than 20 percent.

But while some decided to cut their budgets, others have decided to scour completely different parts of the market. More than a fifth (20.6 percent) of respondents said they had originally looked to buy a new car but were now in the market for a used vehicle.

Used cars

WhatCar? also surveyed more than 400 customers who had already bought a vehicle. Of those, a fifth (20.5 percent) said the cost-of-living crisis had impacted their decision, while 61.3 percent said they had bought a different make and model of vehicle than they initially wanted. Of those who had bought a used car, 13.6 percent said they had originally been in the market for a new vehicle.

“Rising inflation is impacting the automotive sector with serious consequences,” said Steve Huntingford, the editor of What Car?. “As our research shows, a significant share of buyers are revising their budgets, pushing back their vehicle purchase and considering different makes and models than before to offset the rising costs of living.”