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Used car dealers will be under pressure to win over buyers in 2024 – Motors

Buyers are taking longer to deal and are doing more research – dealers need to stay as visible as possible to reassure buyers, says Motors. Sponsored post

Time 1:15 pm, February 8, 2024

Used car dealers will be under pressure to win over increasingly sceptical buyers this year, and staying visible online will be key to success.

That’s the view of Motors, which undertakes analysis of the used car market every month, and is reaping the rewards of a major new rebrand.

The firm’s chief operating officer, Phill Jones, and marketing officer, Lucy Tugby, appeared on Car Dealer Live recently to explain more.

Motors’ latest Digital Touchpoints Survey quizzed 3,000 in-market car buyers and found that they are visiting more car search websites before they splash their cash.

Buyers are visiting an average of 4.2 car search websites before they take the plunge and deal – up from 3.5 in 2021.

With buyers desiring more reassurance in the purchasing process, dealers have a challenge to secure buyers’ business this year – and Motors thinks staying as visible as possible at the top of the funnel is the key to winning over buyers.

‘This survey is very representative of the car buying population, geographically and demographically,’ Jones said in the video posted at the top of this story.

‘These pieces of research are really important because they help us educate dealers on what’s happening at the very top of the funnel. We don’t sell cars ourselves, but what we do know is how people are searching for cars and what sort of actions they’re taking online.

‘I think if there’s one thing we can do for dealers it is to translate that [this data into buyer sentiment and behaviour] into the kind of the “so what?”, because by the time that car buyer arrives at the dealership the dealer has to understand what that car buyer has been going through to get there.’

You can read more about the survey here, but the highlights include 84% of buyers said they used multiple websites to double-check the car they are interested in is priced consistently across different platforms.

Dealers maintaining visibility online will therefore be crucial in 2024, believes Jones.

‘Dealers need to tread carefully because car buyers are becoming harder to win,’ he said. ‘They are taking longer to search and they’re searching more. So dealers are going to be under pressure to make sure they stay visible and well presented at the top of the funnel.

‘But dealers also have to do this kind of Houdini trick of trying to get more visibility while staying on top of costs.’

At last year’s Car Dealer Used Car Awards, Motors unveiled a major rebrand which saw and eBay Motors Group come together as a single brand, and a bold new logo.

As part of this, a huge investment has been poured into the firm to make it a destination site for consumers and the perfect partner for dealers.

‘The rebrand is going really well – it’s a chance for us to deliver on what we believe in,’ said Jones.

‘We’ve been owned by private equity for two years now and have been working hard in the background to improve the business. When we launched eBay Motors Group, we were still owned by eBay. Now that we’re independent and still a partner of eBay, we’re able to draw attention to the Motors part of the proposition, which is a fundamental driver of our growth.

‘We’ve invested more in marketing, doubled the size of our product and tech teams, expanded the size of customer service teams, and more. It is fundamental to our pitch that we really help dealers reach car buyers at multiple stages of the car buying journey.’

As part of the rebrand, there has been enormous investment in marketing to support its dealer partners.

It has a signed a new partnership with Global’s Radio X and Heart brands, along with headline sponsorship of the Johnny Vaughan Weekday Drivetime Show on Radio X.

Another major deal is taking the headline sponsor slot at the British Motor Show in 2024 and 2025.

‘We’re really excited about this,’ said Tugby. ‘It’s the UK’s fastest growing automotive show for families, attracting more than 60,000 visitors across four days, and allows us to connect with thousands of car buyers. This will really help us drive brand awareness and consideration for Motors, which, in turn, supports our dealer partners with growth and leads.’

She added: ‘We know from research that car buyers really want to use car search platforms that they both trust and, most importantly, they like as well. They’re looking for a knowledgeable friend to really help them through that process, which can be very complex.

‘Encouragingly, Motors is really starting to score very well on all of this criteria. So we can’t wait to bring Motors to life at the event.’

The interview also covers more 2024 predictions and observations about the used car market. Click the video at the top of the story to watch the full discussion.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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