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More than fifth of drivers think virtual used car buying hikes prices – survey

  • 43% of drivers are sceptical about buying a car without seeing it in person, research finds
  • 21% reckon price will be hiked, says AA Cars
  • Respondents tell of fears that unseen vehicles could have mechanical issues
  • 61% wouldn’t buy without visiting the dealer first
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Time 11:46 am, October 24, 2023

More than a fifth of drivers believe buying online will result in the price being hiked.

That’s according to new research from the AA’s used car website AA Cars after an online poll of 12,903 UK adults conducted by Yonder in August.

It found that 21% reckoned the price would be jacked up if bought virtually.


Meanwhile, more than two-fifths of drivers don’t believe they’ll get good value for money if they don’t see a used car in person.

The survey found that 43% of respondents were sceptical when it came to buying a used car.

Just over three in five drivers (61%) wouldn’t buy a car without visiting a dealership to inspect it for themselves.


More than a quarter (27%) believe virtual purchases take away their ability to haggle, and 21% believe buying online will result in the price being hiked.

But the biggest worry among more than half of drivers (52%) thinking of buying a car virtually is that it might have mechanical issues that they’d have to fork out for down the line.

Separate AA Cars data found that 73% of Brits would never think of buying a car without seeing it in person first. That came from a Yonder online sample of 12,337 UK adults last November.

However, nearly a quarter of drivers (22%) said they wouldn’t be averse to the idea of buying unseen as long as the car had been inspected by a trusted organisation.

At the start of the year, one in five drivers (21%) said they’d already bought a used car without seeing it in person first.

AA Cars director Mark Oakley said: ‘When it comes to big-ticket purchases like a car, people always want to feel confident that they are getting the best deal for their hard-earned cash.

‘The majority of drivers still prefer to visit a forecourt in person, as they believe they will get better value for money and be less likely to end up with a car plagued by mechanical issues.

‘Dealerships that offer consumers the chance to buy digitally can expand their customer base, as people can purchase from all over the UK.

‘But our research shows dealers need to put some extra assurances in place to make drivers feel confident about buying unseen.’


John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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