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BCA reveal what customers want

Franchised and independent dealers agree that low finance is the most important factor to sway a customer’s opinion to choose one dealer over another.

By contrast, motorists actually placed low finance as 14th on the list of fifteen factors which most affect a customer’s decision to go with one dealer over another, with only 3% suggesting it was important to them.

The research was carried out by AM sister company Sewells for BCA and is based on responses made by 2,903 motorists for the annual Used Car Market Report overlaid with a special survey of nearly 100 franchised and independent dealer groups and solus outlets.

  • To download the full results from BCA's report click here.

    Independents then suggested ‘contact with customer’ and a dealership being ‘nearby and convenient’ were the next most important, while franchised dealers agreed on the factors but reversed the order.

    Motorists, however, rated ‘being contacted by dealer’, least important, with just 1% citing the factor. Interestingly, research carried out by British Market Research Bureau for BCA suggests roughly a third of motorists are contacted by their dealers at some stage, with 12% saying they are contacted about purchasing another vehicle.

    Dealers, meanwhile, were correct in placing ‘nearby and convenient’ high on their lists, as this factor was rated third most important by motorists.

    The top factor reported by motorists when choosing a dealer was, ‘they had exactly the car I wanted’, chosen by 50% . While this was rated reasonably highly by franchised dealers at 6th, independents rated it a lowly 10th. However, all parties agreed that getting the ‘best possible price’ was important. It was rated second by motorists, and fourth by both independents and franchised dealers.

    Motorists also value the importance of well-informed, professional and friendly staff, placing this factor fourth. However, dealers placed this factor 14th on their list.

    Dealers were also asked to list the most important factors that persuaded motorists to buy a used car rather than a new one. The factors were listed and ranked and overlaid with motorists’ responses and once again, there were some noticeable discrepancies.

    Both franchised and non-franchised dealers believe motorists choose used because of the wider choice. In fact motorists rated this relatively lowly, with the three most important factors being ‘I can’t afford new’, ‘used cars are better value for money,’ and ‘lower depreciation’.

    Tony Gannon, BCA communications director, said: “This survey provides a fascinating insight into what motivates motorists and how dealers interpret this in their showrooms. In a nutshell, motorists want the right car in the right place at the right time and at a keen price.

    “There appears to be a perception in the motor trade that car buyers don’t have an exact requirement and therefore this won’t be a high factor in their choice of dealer. Our research suggests that motorists more often than not know exactly what they want, and will choose a dealer on that basis. It underlines how important it is for dealers to be able to source specific cars quickly and efficiently.”

    He concluded “Used car buyers are highly focussed on getting a good deal on the car they want and they don’t want to travel too far to get it. The price of the car is hugely important to them and they expect to get a good level of service. The dealers that can consistently deliver on this wish list will undoubtedly have a very healthy used car profit line.”

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