HILL ASEAN: Car Drawing Survey

Sep. 5, 2016
  • Research
  • Viewpoints
  • HILL

Real Asian sei-katsu-sha: ASEAN

Based in Bangkok, Thailand, and bringing together researchers from all over Southeast Asia, the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN (HILL ASEAN) studies the attitudes and behavior of sei-katsu-sha in the ASEAN countries while drawing on the expertise in sei-katsu-sha research that Hakuhodo has built up in Japan. It provides marketing support to businesses and offers insights and recommendations on emerging lifestyles in the region. It also publishes the ASEAN Sei-katsu-sha Magazine online. The second issue of ASEAN Sei-katsu-sha Magazine is entitled “Car Drawing Survey.”

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, as car ownership was rising in Japan, the cars drawn by Japanese children were almost invariably sedans. I myself instinctively drew a sedan with a trunk whenever I drew a car. That was only natural, I suppose, since in those days “car” was virtually synonymous with “sedan.”

But if you get a Japanese child to draw a car nowadays, they’re more likely to draw a minivan than a sedan. That reflects the fact that vehicle types have proliferated as people’s needs have diversified, and minivans are the car of choice in family households with kids.

Owning a car is now becoming common in the ASEAN countries. So what kind of picture would kids there produce if you asked them to draw a car? We did just that, in a survey that could be described rather fancily as forecasting future market trends through the application of sei-katsu-sha insight.

The survey involved getting parents and children in five ASEAN countries to draw what came to mind when they heard the word “car” and the car they wanted to drive in the future. (Only children were surveyed in Singapore.) Future automobile trends were then extrapolated by comparing the types of vehicles that came to mind now with what they wanted to drive in the future.

Before conducting the survey, the following hypotheses were formulated on automobile trends:

  • Pickups are currently popular in Thailand, but are they the kind of vehicle children will want to drive one day? Won’t they decline in popularity?
  • MPVs are currently popular in Indonesia, but are they the kind of vehicle children will want to drive one day? Won’t they decline in popularity?
  • SUVs are gradually attracting interest in all the countries. Aren’t they becoming popular because they’re the kind of vehicle children will want to drive one day?

Now let’s turn to the results.

The following table, admittedly not that easy to read, summarizes the results on body type. It shows, for parents and children in each country, what comes to mind when they hear the word “car” and the car they want to drive in the future.

Trends in car body types

What trends does this table reveal? The main findings common to all the ASEAN countries are as follows.

  • Are sedans set to decline in popularity? They were drawn less often as the car people want to drive in the future than as what comes to mind when they hear the word “car.” The sedan’s current position as the popular favorite may thus one day be eroded.
  • Except in Indonesia, MPVs are gaining in popularity. They were drawn more often as the car people want to drive in the future than as what comes to mind when they hear the word “car.” A market shift to MPVs could thus occur. (In Indonesia, where MPVs are already well established as family cars, they were drawn less often as the car people wanted to drive in the future.)
  • The desire to own a sports car is as strong as ever. Many subjects drew a sports car as the car they want to drive in the future, suggesting that sports cars are as popular as ever.

Findings in the five ASEAN countries

And how did the hypotheses fare? In Indonesia, sports cars were the most popular choice of car to drive in the future; SUVs also did well, but sedans and MPVs were less popular. In Thailand, as the hypothesis predicted, sedans and pickups were far less popular as cars to drive in the future.

As for the ASEAN region as a whole, more children drew MPVs (except in Indonesia) and fewer drew sedans, just as in Japan. The enduring desire to own a sports car, though, epitomizes the dynamism of ASEAN’s economic growth. Even talking to local people on staff, I get the impression that sports cars have more cachet than they do in Japan.

Detailed findings from each country are contained in ASEAN Sei-katsu-sha Magazine, Vol. 2, so be sure to have a look. You can download it as a PDF file in either Japanese or English from the “Magazines” section of the HILL ASEAN website.

Goro Hokari, Institute Director, Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN

PROFILE

Goro Hokari
Institute Director, Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN, and Executive Regional Strategic Planning Director, Hakuhodo Asia Pacific
1995 Started working at Hakuhodo as a marketing planner handling marketing operations for clients.
2005 Assigned to work at an advertising agency in London.
2006 Transferred to a brand consultancy in London before returning to Hakuhodo.
2013 Appointed Executive Regional Strategic Planning Director at Hakuhodo Asia Pacific (HAP).
2014 Appointed Institute Director of the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN.
Back to News & Insights

Related content