According to a Yahoo! Autos survey conducted by Harris Interactive, one in three United States consumers plans to purchase or lease their next vehicle by the end of 2003. Of those consumers, 79% said that manufacturer incentives will weigh more heavily on their purchasing decision than the current economy (66%) or the potential war with Iraq (34%).

"In light of the ongoing economic uncertainty, this strong intent to purchase a car by a significant portion of the population is encouraging news for both consumers and car manufacturers," said a spokesman. "Also, given the fact that incentives have already spurred strong sales this year, the indication that such a large number of people plan to buy a car in the near future is surprising but indicative of the power of the great deals available right now.

The survey is claimed to confirm that car manufacturers are on the right track by offering incentives such as 0% financing and rebates on new vehicles, with almost four out of five potential car buyers (79%) saying that incentives will influence their decision more than any other factor.

"These incentives help push consumers past many concerns they may have about the economy or the threat of war," the spokesman said. "The deals are just too good to be ignored."

Also noted in the survey is the fact that one in three consumers now use the internet as their primary method for researching a new vehicle before purchase. While the numbers show that the majority of consumers (50%) still visit a dealership as their primary method of research, a JD Power study reported that 60% of new car buyers turn to automotive sites for useful research tools and objective information at some point in the car buying process.
According to Jupiter Media Metrix, 37% of all new car sales will be the direct result of a specific purchase decision made online by 2007.

The Yahoo! Autos survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, was based on responses from 2,766 consumers between October 16-18, 2002.