What Are the 7 Primary Psychological Motivating Factors Behind Owning a Luxury Vehicle?


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Most luxury car owners don’t give much thought to why they prefer to drive a certain type of vehicle. They write it off as personal preference, then move on. The reality is that there are many psychological factors that influence all purchasing decisions. Read on to find out about the seven primary psychological motivating factors behind owning a luxury vehicle.

Perceived Value

Drivers perceive the objective monetary value of luxury cars to be higher than that of ordinary vehicles. Even when luxury vehicles are functionally identically to average, lower-priced cars, consumers are still willing to pay more money for them because they feel that the higher price must indicate a higher relative valuation. That’s a good thing if you want to sell your luxury car┬ásince it will help sellers fetch a better price.

Social Status

Luxury vehicle buyers don’t just want a car that will get them from point A to point B. They view their vehicles as status symbols. This perception helps to explain why modern media often associate luxury cars with mid-life crises, as they offer consumers a way to represent personal milestones visually and let others know that they have been successful. Researchers refer to this motivating factor as a hedonic motivation.

Desire to Improve Self-Esteem

Buying a luxury car often has an emotional impact on drivers, especially if they ordinarily have lower self-esteem. Put simply, when consumers are unhappy with their lives, they’re more likely to purchase showy, high-status goods. Psychologists refer to this process as compensatory consumption.

Passion for Cars

Some drivers view their luxury vehicles as a personal passion. They tend to purchase luxury vehicles that offer unique experiences or industry-leading performance. These buyers pay more attention to the condition of the car and its unique features.

Consumer Experience

When consumers buy luxury cars, they do so expecting that every aspect of their purchasing experience will be luxurious. They’re looking for personalized attention and plenty of help with car buying and believe they won’t find it at an ordinary dealership.

Brand Reputation

Some luxury vehicles are built better than ordinary cars. Drivers looking for well-built vehicles seek luxury brands that have reputations for excellence in engineering and including all the bells and whistles.

Feeling of Exclusivity

Since the luxury car market has a higher barrier to entry than most vehicle markets, drivers are less likely to see other cars just like their own on the road. This gives them a sense that they are part of an exclusive club. In some cases, a driver with an obscure model of a luxury vehicle may even be the only person with that car in the region, conferring a level of local fame that makes it feel worth the money they have spent.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons for purchasing a luxury vehicle and the psychological motivating factors behind the decision to spend more money on a nicer car vary from person to person. Some drivers focus on more practical factors like the ease of their buying experiences and the quality of materials and design. Others are more motivated by how driving a luxury vehicle will change the way others perceive them. Like vehicle manufacturers and dealers, car owners who want to sell their luxury vehicles need to be aware of these motivating factors so they’ll be able to get the best price for their cars.

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