Nearly three fourths of consumers, 72 percent, want to complete the credit application and financing paperwork online. Nearly three fourths 72 percent of consumers say they would visit dealerships more often if the buying process were improved. Additionally, 73 percent report that they are willing to drive farther for a great salesperson, versus 65 percent who are willing to drive to get the lowest price.
Over half, 56 percent, of consumers prefer to negotiate, according to the study, and two of the most influential groups in car buying—Millennials and females—also prefer negotiating over flat rate pricing.
In fact, the study shows the opposite. Eighty-four percent of consumers in the study indicate that they want to buy a car in person. Instead, they want more convenience and less pressure while test driving, such as having the ability to test drive multiple vehicles across brands in a single place and taking a test drive with a product specialist instead of a sales person.
At the dealership, consumers want to validate information they found online and learn about the following: It was fielded from June through October Further, 43 percent see the dealership as a place to learn. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises.
This is a result of the fact that consumers do not yet trust flat rate pricing, and they feel that they have to negotiate to get a fair price.
Of those who liked the idea of online deal building, over half, 56 percent, want the ability to start the negotiation on their own terms—preferably online—and 45 percent would like to remain anonymous until they lock in the deal structure.
Sales people will be less important in the future. Moving paperwork online and enabling consumers to complete it on their own time would greatly enhance the in-dealership experience and cut down on the time they spend in the dealership on the day of purchase. Over half 53 percent of consumers would buy a vehicle more often if the buying process were improved.
The Benefits for Dealers and Manufacturers who Adapt are Clear Dealers and manufacturers who focus on creating—and ultimately deliver—a better shopping and buying experience can reap significant benefits, according to the study: Two thirds 66 percent of consumers say that they would be much more likely to buy from a dealership that offers their preferred experience.
When it comes to servicing their vehicles, 83 percent of consumers indicate that they would like to have the ability to access a network of local service centers that honor service agreements.
While 88 percent of consumers say they will not buy a car without test driving it first, the majority report that they do not prefer the way test drives are currently conducted an accompanied test drive with a sales person.
The key factors driving this desire are to save time at the dealership reported by 72 percent of those who favor online paperwork and to have less pressure while filling out paperwork reported by 71 percent of those who favor online paperwork.
About the Study The Autotrader Car Buyer of the Future study is a multi-phase qualitative and quantitative research study. Lowest price will always win. In fact, the dealership and its sales people will continue to play a very important role in the car buying process. In addition to identifying the changes that consumers do want, the study also dispels some commonly held beliefs about the future of car buying.
The key factor driving this desire is convenience. The phases included four expert interviews, eight car buyer ethnographies, focus groups among 40 new and used car buyers and a quantitative study among car shoppers and buyers.
Negotiating will be a part of the car buying process for the foreseeable future, and consumers indicate that they would like to see a big change in the way they go about negotiating the deal structure.
While price is important to consumers, the dealership experience can trump lowest price: At Autotrader, we will continue doing our part and working closely with our customers and partners to usher in that new reality," Rowe continued.
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