European motorists are growing weary of their cars and increasingly keen on purchasing lower-cost vehicles, according to research released in France on Thursday.

The survey, conducted by L'Observatoire Cetelem in Paris, suggests that 79 percent of Europeans view car ownership as a burden rather than a pleasure. As such, more than 29 percent could envision buying a low-cost vehicle and 57 percent would consider buying a Chinese or Indian brand.

The most likely countries for inhabitants to buy a low-cost car are Portugal (40 percent), the United Kingdom (39 percent), and Spain (36 percent). Only 30 percent of people planning to buy a new car in the next year are planning to spend over €12000 on it, with the majority (40 percent) planning to spend between €8000 - €12000. The report is likely to make uncomfortable reading for the host of luxury vehicle manufacturers based in the region.

Despite our desire to downsize, the survey reveals how superficial we are when it comes to car ownership - the majority felt that buying a low-cost car would damage their standing or image rather than anything else. Compromise on elegance or design were the next most common fear, while less than 20 percent felt that a low-price car would lack reliability.

Well over half of Europeans (68 percent) believe that the price of a new car has risen faster than other goods and services, borne out in part by official figures. According to L'Observatoire Cetelem, inflation across Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK, the six territories covered, rose by 2.3 percent whilst car prices rose by 3.2 percent (from 1998 - 2008). The only aspect of car ownership believed to have declined in price (relative to inflation) were external parts and accessories.

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