AM Online

Used buyers will travel further for the right car

New research conflicts with the claims of some dealers that the internet is widening their sales territories, giving them a national presence. It claims that consumers are prepared to travel on average just 21 miles to buy a new car, with Londoners and those living in the south, Midlands and north east least willing to travel.

Feedback from dealers, however, suggests that many consumers do travel hundreds of miles to buy a car because they value personal service.

The importance of service is underlined by the research, which was carried out by Trinity Mirror Group.

It says the top three most important factors influencing a consumer’s decision to buy from a dealership are previous experience, dealer reputation and trade-in, although the priorities varied depending on the region. A further 15.9% of consumers say the key factor is whether the dealer has the right car.

The Brand Equity And Media Effectiveness Research (BEAMER) is based on face-to-face interviews with 36,000 people. More than half (57%) of those who intend to buy a new car say they will within the next 12 months. Intention to purchase in the next 12 months varies from 51% in the south to 66% in the north east.

Top three influencing factors by region

  • London: free warranty, customer service and special offers
  • Wales: past experience, free servicing and trade-in
  • Midlands: free servicing, personal recommendation and finance deal
  • North east: location/convenience, aftersales service and past experience
  • North west: special offers, trade-in and past experience
  • Scotland: finance deal, past experience and personal recommendation

    Four years ago, AM carried out research that revealed customers were willing to travel up to 53.4 miles to buy a car – new or used. These findings, when matched against the BEAMER research, suggest that buyers of used cars are willing to go further than new car purchasers, probably because of the wider choice in terms of condition and specification.

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