Pupgrade Your Car
by Becky Harrison |
posted 27 April 2021
More than a third of new dog-owning motorists had to ‘pup-size’ last year – buying a bigger or more practical car to accommodate their pets – according to research by CarGurus. The pandemic saw a surge in interest in canine companions, with online puppy searches soaring by 115%.
The survey of 2,000 drivers with dogs revealed a fifth (22%) bought or adopted their most recent dog after the start of lockdown. The survey also found that 35% of recent dog owners said they had to buy a larger or more practical vehicle because of the pet, spending an average of £7,594.
The data suggests of an estimated 800,000 puppies and dogs bought in the UK each year, 280,000 (35%) would result in their owners buying a new vehicle. This in turn would mean new owners ‘pupgraded’ their car to accommodate their new canine friends, spending nearly £2.1 billion in total (£7,594 on average per vehicle).
To help new, or future, dog owners to find the right vehicle for them, CarGurus has developed a new tool, the Pupgrader, which suggests the right vehicle based on the size of their dog and whether or not they also need to transport other family members. The tool, launched during National Pet Month, has been developed to ensure recommendations are made based on a fully-grown dog so consumers aren’t caught off guard by a fast-growing puppy.
It was created after research by CarGurus found more than a quarter (27%) of dog owners admitted they should have thought more about the car they owned when getting their pet - with this number increasing to 61% among the 'lockdown dog owners'.
The research also delved into what features dog owners were looking for when purchasing a car. It found 38% wanted wipe clean surfaces inside the car, the same number wanted rear doors and 31% said durable materials were an important feature which impacted their buying decision.
As a result, 40% said they opted for an SUV, with 23% choosing a family hatchback and 9% going for an estate car. When out on the road, 39% of drivers reported keeping their dog on the back seat, while 28% put their dog in the boot. Almost half (43%) of dog owners said easy access was an important feature when car searching, with the same percentage saying a large boot made all the difference.