automobile modification, relationship investment intention, reliability, aesthetic appeal, social approval

Document Type

Proceedings Abstract



Modification and Investment Intention in the Consumer-Possession Relationship

The present-day automobile is at once a source of physical transportation, of course, but also an extension of self, a potential platform for self-expression and image enhancement, a source of social approval as well as psychological and physiological stimulation, and, perhaps, an object of beauty. This study examines motivations and antecedents of various vehicle-directed consumer behaviors, including modification and the intention of consumers to invest in their relationship with their vehicle. In this study, vehicle modification refers to the voluntary actions taken by a user or owner of a vehicle to differentiate the functional or aesthetic characteristics or performance of a vehicle from other vehicles of the same make, model, year, option package, usage level, and mechanical and cosmetic condition. Investment intention, predicted in this research to derive from the perceived status of the consumer-possession relationship (i.e., how the consumer perceives the reliability and aesthetic appeal of the vehicle and the extent to which the vehicle receives the approval of important others), refers to the willingness of consumers to treat their vehicle as a special possession and invest in the longevity of the possession and consumption relationship.