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On closer inspection – why trust trumps all in used car sales

Sponsored: AA Cars CEO James Fairclough explains how its impartial inspections give a massive boost to customer confidence in dealers’ cars

Time 8:37 am, January 17, 2022

Every person buying a used car will have their own wish list of the qualities they want.

From performance to practicality, from comfort to fuel efficiency, no two wish lists will be quite the same.

But one thing unites all prospective buyers. Even if they don’t say it explicitly, they all want peace of mind that the vehicle they choose won’t let them down.


That’s why dealers who sell cars that have undergone an impartial inspection have a decisive edge over those who don’t – the priceless value of trust.

At the AA, we’ve seen the power of this commercial advantage first-hand.

In the past year alone, the number of dealers putting their stock through AA Vehicle Inspections has surged by 25 per cent1.

To understand the role that trust plays in buyers’ decision-making, we asked them. The results were striking.


Nearly 90 per cent of the drivers we polled said they would feel more confident purchasing a second-hand car from a dealer who is partnered with the AA2.

And over 70 per cent said they would be able to make a purchasing decision more quickly knowing that a car had been independently inspected by the AA2.

For would-be buyers, the combination of the peace of mind that comes from knowing a car has been thoroughly checked by an independent expert, plus the trust associated with the AA brand, is a compelling one.

But what is the AA Vehicle Inspection, and how does it combine those two elements?

Put simply, if you were to visit an independent dealership signed up to AA Vehicle Inspections, then you would know that the vehicles for sale will have been thoroughly checked over by an expert AA Cars engineer.

You would be able to read the clearly displayed ‘pass reports’ detailing the extensive list of checks each car has been subjected to, and what the AA Cars inspector found.

And you would know this was a thorough inspection, far more exhaustive and rigorous than a layperson could ever do.

Depending on the vehicle’s make and fuel type, our engineers make a minimum of 128 checks on each car. And their qualifications mean they can inspect every type of vehicle on a typical forecourt, including EVs.


We know that customers can be hesitant and uncertain when navigating the used car market, especially if they are looking for the first time.

Our research shows AA Vehicle Inspections help them feel more confident, both in the car they are considering and the dealer they are buying from.

Dealers who have their stock checked independently by AA Cars are able to build trust by offering transparency and peace of mind to their customers.

Drivers’ buying habits are also changing, and partnering with the AA’s nationally recognised brand doesn’t just reinforce a dealer’s credentials – it also boosts their reach.

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Data from the AA Cars website shows that cars listed as having passed an AA Vehicle Inspection attract significantly more views online.

Partnership with the AA enables dealers to leverage our brand, both online and on the forecourt.

Those who offer AA Vehicle Inspections are welcome to use a range of eye-catching, point-of-sale signage that reminds customers that all the vehicles on display, whatever the make, model or spec, come with one thing as standard – peace of mind.

1 AA Cars data.
2 Yonder received 14,681 responses from AA members to its online poll between July 13 and July 21, 2021. Yonder is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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