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
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.