AutoTrader study gives a consumer view of sales process

AutoTrader study gives a consumer view of sales process

A new study from AutoTrader shows that consumers want big changes in the car buying process in test drives, deal structuring and F&I. The study also found that consumers want a different way of getting their cars serviced. The company surveyed 4,002 people.

–While there is good work going on right now to adapt decades-old sales processes, consumers are telling us that we as an industry are not moving fast enough,” said AutoTrader president Jared Rowe.

The study dispels three common myths.

Myth #1: Salespeople will be less important in the future. Rather, 84 percent of consumers said they want to buy a car in person. Four-tenths see the dealership as a place to learn about specials, offers, warranty and service.

Myth #2: Consumers donêt want to negotiate. More than half said to prefer to negotiate. Many feel they have to negotiate to get a fair price.

Myth #3: Lowest price will always win. More than half said they would buy from a dealership that offered their preferred experience over lowest price. Nearly three-quarters said they are willing to drive farther for a great salesperson.

The study cites four main areas where changes are needed:

Test drives. A whopping 88 percent said they will not buy a car without a test drive, but most said they want more convenience and less pressure. Respondents said they would like to be able to test drive multiple vehicles across brands in one place and take a test drive with a product specialist instead of a salesperson.

Deal structuring. Of those who liked the idea of online deal building, more than half want the ability to start the negotiation on their own terms, preferably online. Nearly that many would like to remain anonymous until they lock in the deal structure.

F&I. Nearly three-fourths of consumers want to complete the credit application and financing paperwork online, mostly to save time at the dealership and to have less pressure while filling out paperwork.

Service. An impressive 83 percent of consumers said they would like to be able to access a network of local service centers that honor service agreements, mainly for greater convenience.

An incentive for the industry to make changes: more than half of consumers said they would buy a vehicle more often if the buying process were improved.

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