In order to understand how individual decisions contribute to the overall growth in car ownership, a small scale social research exercise, using in-depth interviews, looked at the reasons people have for acquiring a first or additional household car. The study shows that it is possible to identify a range of different motivations for car acquisition, which are related to demographic variables, lifestyle and the role of financial circumstances in the decision to buy a car. It also shows that conventional assumptions about the car as a household commodity, and about increases in ownership being permanent, may not be valid at the disaggregate level. The report concludes with a discussion of how such data may assist in understanding the overall pattern of growth of car ownership.(A) This paper was presented at the World Conference on Transport Research, Hamburg, April, 1983.

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