Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Survey Says Buy Don’t Try

A recent survey put out by DMEautomotive looked at Americans’ car-buying habits. While some of what they found won’t surprise you, some of it might.

It seems consumers don’t trust the people selling them cars. According to the survey, only 21% saw them as trustworthy, 22% were neutral and 56% didn’t trust them. After all, like all commissioned sales people, the more you pay, the more they make, so the only incentive to give you a deal is so you don’t shop elsewhere. That being said, I’ve only dealt with one that I actually considered dishonest. And it could be worse. They ranked better than telemarketers and politicians.

The survey also said that 68% of those surveyed visited two dealerships or less before buying, while 40% only visited one. My first thought was that’s because people already know what they want before they go shopping. However, the survey noted that a decade ago, people would visit five dealers before deciding. Today they’re doing their research online instead, checking out as many as 10 different sites. Makes sense to me. It’s always better to walk into the dealership knowing what you want and how much you’re likely to pay for it. You can probably get answers a lot quicker from the internet than from a sales person.

Breaking down visits by age and gender showed women overall making fewer visits (46% visiting one or less), again not surprising. Those under 35, however, whom we’re often told aren’t interested in cars, actually visit more dealerships than the rest of us, with 63% visiting two dealerships or more. Not surprisingly, people shopping for used cars spend more time touring dealers, checking out an average of 2.3 lots, with 38% of them visiting three or more.

What also surprised me about the survey was how little test-driving people were doing. While 26% of those surveyed drove three or more vehicles, 49% drove only one or none at all. In fact, one in six bought their vehicle without test-driving it. I made a comment to my husband about how I’d never do that (I’m short and need to make sure I can reach the pedals and see over the dash) and he pointed out that we’d done exactly that with our current car. True, it was the same model, though newer, than our last car, but still…

Even more surprising is that 18% of those who bought a used vehicle didn’t bother with a test drive. It would be interesting to know why. And among purchasers of both new and used vehicles, women were least likely to test drive, with 19% declining compared to 12% of men. I know I feel uncomfortable driving a strange car with a stranger in the seat beside me, but I may not be typical.

So how about it? Do you enjoy going to the dealership and kicking the tires? Or do you prefer checking out vehicles at auto shows, where you can see everything at once? Do you test drive cars you have no intention of buying, just because they’re cool? Or do you only buy vehicles you’re already familiar with, and pass on the test drive entirely?

[SOURCE DMEautomotive,]

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