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Canadians are keeping a close eye on their pocketbooks when it comes to buying a car, says the Royal Bank of Canada.

A recent poll conducted for RBC by Ipsos Reid found that about 39 per cent of respondents indicated they were likely to buy a car in the next two years.

However, those in the survey were evenly split on whether they would go into debt to finance such a purchase.

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But once ready to buy a car, the survey found that almost six-in-10, or 57 per cent, of respondents planned to finance all or a portion of their next purchase or lease.

When asked about financing their vehicle, more than half of of those surveyed - 52 per cent - said they considered their budget to ensure they can afford it.

The interest rate on a loan and the monthly payment were the next most important factors at 20 and 16 per cent respectively.

"The poll shows that car purchasing and leasing intentions have stalled this year, as Canadians think prudently about how it may affect their personal financial situation," RBC spokesman Richard Goyder said in releasing results of the poll, which did not give comparison figures.

Overall, a 62 per cent majority of respondents said paying off a loan quickly was more important than low monthly payments, although 36 per cent put a priority on low payments.

About half, or 51 per cent, said they received car-buying advice from family and friends, followed by car dealers (46 per cent), the news media (31 per cent) and online forums (26 per cent).

While men and women are about equally likely to buy a car in the next two years — 42 and 38 per cent respectively — affordability was a little more important for women, with 89 per cent citing it as an influencing factor compared with 80 per cent for men.

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The online survey, conducted March 6-12, was based on a randomly selected representative sample of 1,559 adult Canadians.

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