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Auto Trader: Where car dealers get it wrong – and get it right

Time 6 years ago

autotraderAUTO TRADER has completed a comprehensive research project looking at what’s good, and what could be improved, in the car-buying journey.

Pooling the views of more than 1,000 car buyers over the past two years, the study found that deal negotiations and salesperson pressure were the two principal pain points for those who buy from a dealer.

However, it also confirmed that consumers’ perceptions of the industry are often worse than reality. While 43 per cent said they feared salesperson pressure and 33 per cent worried about negotiation on areas like pricing, finance and part-exchange in advance of the visit, the showroom experience itself was often less painful. Only 21 per cent said salesperson pressure had actually been a problem, while 17 per cent said they had not enjoyed negotiating with showroom staff.


One area where perception and reality were closely matched concerns finding the right dealer. A total of 23 per cent of respondents said they had found this hard, compared with 22 per cent who worried about this in advance of their research. The findings suggest retailers could do more online to build trust and drive traffic to their forecourts.

Nick King

Nick King

‘There are clearly things that could be done to smooth the journey for buyers both on and offline,’ said Nick King, Auto Trader’s director of insight. ‘We know, for example, that part-exchange negotiation is often the breaking point in a deal. We also know that more could be done online to inform buyers about competitive finance deals before they get to a showroom, perhaps pre-empting what might be seen as pushiness in the showroom.

‘Making things more transparent online could help smooth pain points in the journey, leading to more business and happier customers.’

Auto Trader is the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace for buying and selling new and used vehicles. As part of the research, respondents were asked to select any number of responses from a wish list of things that they felt might improve the buying experience.


The top five are:

Freedom to browse – no pressure

32%

Better information about the real cost of cars

32%

A ‘one stop shop’ to find everything online

31%

Clearer information on car prices

29%

Better information on the best car deals and finance

28%

 

The research concluded by asserting that buyer satisfaction is most clearly shaped by the offline experience where retailers tend to do a good job. Three-quarters of buyers said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the whole buying process and face-to-face interaction was most likely to shape a positive impression.

However, 57 per cent said they would be more inclined to buy from the same dealer if the process had been better.

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Colin Channon's avatar

Colin is a former editor of Car Dealer. He left the magazine in August 2015.

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