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Brits are baffled by car jargon – including terms like PCH and horsepower – Essex Live


Brits are completely baffled by car jargon – with terms such as PCH, range anxiety and supercharger leaving seven in ten scratching their heads.

Almost a quarter (24 percent) have even walked away from buying a new, or used, vehicle because they failed to understand the salesperson’s terminology.

The study of 2,000 adults revealed 54 percent don’t have a clue what a PHEV – plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – is, with 34 percent feeling out of their depth when asked about anything other than petrol or diesel motors.

Only 24 percent understand the term “brake horsepower”, while “fuel injection” leaves 21 percent of people bewildered.

And a fifth don’t know what a salesperson means when they talk about transmission checks.

It also emerged that more than half (60 percent) admitted their lack of understanding of such phrases leaves them with less confidence when it comes to buying a used vehicle.



Some people are even confused about what EV stands for - electric vehicle
Some people are even confused about what EV stands for – electric vehicle

The research was carried out by CarStore, which has created an online car jargon buster to help equip buyers to make informed, unpressured decisions.

Kim Costello, from Pendragon, which is behind the launch of CarStore, said: “We know that people can be intimidated by the used vehicle buying, selling and servicing process.

“There are many phrases that could leave you confused – whether that’s PCH, PHEV or even something as common as an electric vehicle.

“We hope the jargon buster will allow people to understand the correct terminology of cars, and give them confidence when buying, selling or servicing their vehicles.

“This will give customers the flexibility to approach the process at their own pace, regardless of their level of experience, and empower them with helpful, easy-to-comprehend advice and total transparency.”

The study also found over a third (36 percent) think ABS stands for automatic braking system, rather than the correct “anti-lock braking system”.

While one in ten think PCP stands for permanent car purpose, when it actually means personal contract purchase.

Nearly a third (32 percent) of adults admit they have pretended to understand terminology used by a car salesperson, so as not to appear clueless.

Of these, over half (57 percent) managed to get away with it – but 23 percent were immediately caught out by the expert.

It also emerged that eight in ten of those polled own a car – with 17 percent buying their vehicle within the last two years.

And more than eight in ten would happily consider buying a second-hand car.



If in doubt about any terminology, check with a salesperson or a mechanic
If in doubt about any terminology, check with a salesperson or a mechanic

But 74 percent would take a friend who knows more about cars than they do to the garage to look at the vehicles they are considering buying.

Dad was the top choice for 25 percent, followed by a brother (17 percent) and mum (12 percent).

However, a quarter of adults would not buy a new vehicle due to being intimidated or confused by the car terms used by a salesperson, according to the study via OnePoll.

And 17 percent who bought a car admitted not knowing the terminology has caused them trouble.

As a result, 62 percent wished they knew more about cars and their terms.

Kim Costello added: “Understanding what you are buying is essential in the decision-making process, or you could get yourself into trouble.

“We know that not everyone has the same level of experience or expertise when it comes to choosing a new used vehicle.

“If you’re unsure about anything, such as terminology, always make sure to ask the salesperson – or in our case your personal advisor, service advisor or mechanic – any questions you may have, to give you confidence in the quality and safety of your vehicle.”

To find out more about CarStore and try the car jargon buster, visit here.

Top 20 car terms Brits don’t understand:

  1. PCH (personal contract hire)
  2. PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)
  3. EPS (electric power steering)
  4. PCP (personal contract purchase)
  5. A-pillar
  6. ISOFIX
  7. Range anxiety
  8. Differential
  9. HPI check
  10. Torque
  11. VIN (vehicle identification number)
  12. EV (electric vehicle)
  13. Understeer
  14. Supercharger
  15. Odometer
  16. Traction control
  17. Alternator
  18. Brake horsepower
  19. Wheelbase
  20. Catalytic converter





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