Dealers remain in the driving seat for consumer car buying

19 December 2017

  • 45% of people want face-to-face guidance from a dealer when buying a car
  • Only 32% of 18-24 year olds would be comfortable buying a car without face-to-face guidance from a dealer
  • 80% of drivers unlikely to buy a car without test driving beforehand

New research shows that 45% of people want face-to-face guidance from a dealer during the car buying journey. This desire is strongest amongst over 55s (52%) and 18-24 year olds (51%) according to the survey by car finance specialist Black Horse.

This suggests the traditional role of the dealer will continue to play a pivotal part in the car buying journey despite customers enjoying increased digital options.

The younger generation are most likely to value support in the showroom, as less than a third (32%) of 18-24 year olds would be comfortable buying a car without face-to-face guidance from a dealer.

The main element of car buying that people want face-to-face guidance with is the vehicle itself (67%) and warranty / maintenance information (68%), whilst 37% want help on the finance options available.

Younger drivers are also most likely to want support with money matters, with a large proportion of those aged 18-24 (50%) and 25-34 (44%) saying they want a dealer to help with finance options. This compares with only 31% of 45-54 year olds.

In further positive news for dealers, 80% of drivers would be unlikely to buy a car without having test driven it first. This would suggest there will continue to be opportunities for dealers to talk to customers and answer their questions during the buying process.

This ongoing demand for dealership guidance demonstrates the continued importance of knowledge and expertise on the forecourt, and coincides with Black Horse reporting the number of dealers completing its online training courses has already doubled in 2017 to over 25,000.

Richard Jones, Managing Director, Black Horse said: “It’s clear that people still value the role of the car dealer and need the guidance they provide as part of the overall buying journey. This seems particularly true of the younger generation, especially in the area of finance.

“Of course we recognise that digital has an important role to play in research and selection and that an integrated buying experience – one of both bricks and clicks – is the model of the future. So we need to put ourselves in the strongest possible position to deliver a great car buying experience.

“A core element of this is demonstrating our professionalism by being able to answer questions, provide clear explanations and help customers understand their options so they make fully informed decisions on the most suitable choice for them. An emphasis on training will help further develop the already excellent levels of knowledge and expertise on forecourts across the UK.”